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The Decomposition Process

The detritus food web works in conjunction with the grazing food web, but its separate function merits separate mention. The detritus food web is very complex and the following is a simplification intended to outline the process. 

The object of the detritus food web is to break down tissues of dead organisms and transform their organic material back into inorganic material so plants can take them up again and restart the grazing food web. 

The activities of the detritus food web are undertaken by smaller species of both animals and plants like algae, worms, beetles and bacteria. These species are called detrivores, or decomposers.

The decomposition process can be more productive in an aerobic environment. Aerobic respiration increases the rate of decomposition, and without oxygen different inorganic materials are released such as molecules of methane, carbon dioxide and organic acids, among others.


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