decomposer

noun

de·​com·​pos·​er ˌdē-kəm-ˈpō-zər How to pronounce decomposer (audio)
: any of various organisms (such as many bacteria and fungi) that return constituents of organic substances to ecological cycles by feeding on and breaking down dead protoplasm compare consumer, producer sense 4

Examples of decomposer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The fungus is a saprotrophic decomposer, a mushroom that typically gets its nutrients from dead or decaying organic matter — but a 2023 study found the mushroom could evolve to thrive on living plants as well. Taylor Nicioli, CNN, 29 Feb. 2024 That means the genus, which contains hundreds of species, can pull an ecological 180, switching from decomposer to parasite or mutualist. Jude Coleman, New York Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Furthermore, soil already hosts an exceptionally diverse microbial community full of decomposers that are well adapted to that environment and would presumably outcompete any newcomers. Jennifer Debruyn, The Conversation, 28 Sep. 2023 Adults can follow the ant trail and travel through displays, literature and boards that explain how composting produces nutrients, show bugs as pollinators, predators, decomposers and food as well as show or confirm how bugs are destructive. Joan Rusek, cleveland, 26 Aug. 2023 Logs also host a different kind of fungi and bacteria, called decomposers. Camille Stevens-Rumann, The Conversation, 10 Apr. 2023 Directed by groundbreaking time-lapse cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg, Fantastic Fungi utilizes this eye-popping art form (alongside CGI animation and interviews with mycologists) to cover the colorfully strange world of our planet’s greatest decomposer. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Mar. 2023 Developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, a decomposer speeds up the decay of stubble, turning it into manure within three weeks. Niharika Sharma, Quartz, 3 Nov. 2022 Farmers in the region have been given a liquid decomposer to spray on their fields to break down stubble into organic fertilizer instead of burning, although the program is still considered in its trial phase. Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2021

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

Word History

First Known Use

1959, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of decomposer was in 1959

Dictionary Entries Near decomposer

Cite this Entry

“Decomposer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/decomposer. Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

decomposer

noun
de·​com·​pos·​er ˌdē-kəm-ˈpō-zər How to pronounce decomposer (audio)
: an organism (as a bacterium or a fungus) that feeds on and breaks down dead plant or animal matter

Medical Definition

decomposer

noun
de·​com·​pos·​er ˌdē-kəm-ˈpō-zər How to pronounce decomposer (audio)
: any of various organisms (as many bacteria and fungi) that return constituents of organic substances to ecological cycles by feeding on and breaking down dead protoplasm

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