che·​mo·​syn·​the·​sis ˌkē-mō-ˈsin(t)-thə-səs How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio)
: synthesis of organic compounds (as in living cells) by energy derived from inorganic chemical reactions
chemosynthetic adjective

Examples of chemosynthesis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While the proposal remains unproven, the discovery of chemosynthesis opened our eyes to new places that could host life. Ashley Balzer Vigil, Ars Technica, 28 Dec. 2023 Scientists realized this was made possible by chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis, a major finding at the time. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 July 2023 Researchers studying these ecosystems — where life exists using chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis — have carried standard foam cups to such depths. Joel Achenbach,, 22 June 2023 Instead, these complex ecosystems run on chemosynthesis – energy from chemical reactions between bacteria and the water. Suzanne Oconnell, The Conversation, 5 June 2023 By contrast, in the tube worm millions of symbiotic bacteria that dwell within the its large plumes grab hydrogen sulfide and other noxious chemicals that seep from the vents and convert them into food and energy for their host, a process called chemosynthesis. Discover Magazine, 29 June 2010 This dark biosphere is the first major ecosystem on Earth based on chemosynthesis. Perrin Ireland, Discover Magazine, 28 Mar. 2013 But these bacteria devour sulfides to generate energy in a process known as chemosynthesis. Sumeet Kulkarni, Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2022 Analysis showed that these organisms were performing chemosynthesis – creating energy from chemicals in the seawater, in complete darkness. Suzanne Oconnell, The Conversation, 22 June 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'chemosynthesis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


chemo- + synthesis, after German Chemosynthese

Note: The German term was probably introduced by the botanist and plant physiologist Wilhelm Pfeffer (1845-1920) in Pflanzenphysiologie: Ein Handbuch der Lehre von Stoffwechsel und Kraftwechsel in der Pflanze, 2. völlig umgearbeitete Auflage, 1. Band (1897), p. 273.

First Known Use

1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of chemosynthesis was in 1900

Dictionary Entries Near chemosynthesis

Cite this Entry

“Chemosynthesis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


che·​mo·​syn·​the·​sis -ˈsin(t)-thə-səs How to pronounce chemosynthesis (audio)
plural chemosyntheses
: synthesis of organic compounds (as in living cells) by energy derived from inorganic chemical reactions
chemosynthetic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on chemosynthesis

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