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1. To resolve a compound into its component parts; to disintegrate.
2. To decay; to putrefy.
[L. de, from, down, + com-pono, pp. -positus, to put together]


v. decom·posed, decom·posing, decom·poses
1. To separate into components or basic elements.
2. To cause to rot.
1. To become broken down into components; disintegrate.
2. To decay; rot or putrefy.

de′com·pos′a·bil′i·ty n.
de′com·pos′a·ble adj.
References in periodicals archive ?
That lack of salt keeps decomposer numbers in check, while plants, which don't need salt, flourish, piling up carbon on the forest floor when they die.
The new assay, however, may change that by making it possible for scientists to quickly screen the genes in masses of anonymous microbes taken from the forest floor, compost heaps, or other outdoor places where decomposers live and work.
One is simply that invasives are more palatable to decomposers due to potentially low C:N ratios, as observed in this study, and low lignin (or other recalcitrant components) in their leaves.
Nutrients in the organic matter, including carbon, are released into the soil with the help of decomposers such as fungi and bacteria.
These beetles are late-stage decomposers, meaning they do not eat fresh meat.
The search for excellent enzymes has taken chemist Charles Lee, and co-workers with the Albany center's Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering Research Unit, to outdoor places where decomposers live and work.
But without multiple species of crops and animals, the farms lacked natural predators, fertilizers and decomposers, which healthy ecosystems require.
The nickel pellets used are a bulk sample ("run of mill") taken from the decomposers at Inco's nickel refinery at Copper Cliff, Ontario.
However, the technique has been criticised on the grounds that the mesh could hinder entry of soil animals (earthworms and arthropods), which may be important decomposers in some systems.
Students will explore the relationship of the earth to the sun, the important role of leaves and decomposers and how animals respond to the imminent arrival of winter.
In most forests, the old growth is dominated by decomposers in terms of species number and complexity," he says.