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Activity Discussion Science & Technology What are saprotrophs?

  • Kumari

    May 8, 2021 at 5:45 pm
    Not Helpful

    Saprotrophs also know as saprophytes or decomposers are the organisms that cannot make there own food and instead are dependent on other non- living organisms and dead and decaying matter for there food. Saprophytes feed with the process called absorptive nutrition or saprophytic nutrition, where the dead and decaying food is digested by the enzyme secreted by the saprotroph. The enzyme converts the non- living organisms into simpler molecule which are then absorbed by the cells.A saprophyte is also helpful to the ecosystem as it decomposes the bodies of dead and decaying organisms, recycles and releases nutrients into the environment, making them available for other organisms to use it. During saprophytic nutrition proteins are digested into amino acids , starch is digested into simpler sugar and fats are broken into fatty acid.Saprotrophs interact with the environment at the microscopic level. These organisms are considered very important in the process of nutrient cycling, decomposition of organic matter and in breaking down the complex organic matter into simpler substances that are taken up by the plants for various metabolic activities. Saprophytes require suitable conditions for there growth. They need sufficient water and oxygen for there growth and cannot grow in anaerobic conditions(lack of oxygen). They grow well in slightly acid aur neutral condition.
    The saprophytes grow through the tubular and filamentous structure called the hyphae that grows and branch into the dead matter and secreat a digestive enzyme that absorbs its nutrients.
    Eg-For example ‘lignin’ one of major materials found in plant cell walls, is not digestible by plant-eating animals or useable by plants unless broken down into its various components, mainly complex sugars. Certain saprophytic fungi are able to reduce lignin into useful compounds.
    Types saprophytes organisms :-
    1.Saprophytic fungi:- Fungi which are dependent on dead and decaying organisms for their nutrition
    Eg-mushrooms, yeast, penicillium.
    2.Saprophytic bacteria:- Bacteria which are dependent on dead and decaying matter for their nutrition.
    Eg-slime moulds, lactobacillus, bacillus stearuothermophilus
    3.Saprophytic flowering plants :- Plants which are dependent on other dead and decaying organisms for there nutrition.
    Eg, Indian plant, burmannia ,Corallorhiza orchids.
    4. Saprophytic algae :- Algae that lacks chlorophyll, like the member of the genus ‘Polytoma’ and are dependent on other dead and decaying matter for there nutrition.

    Features of saprophytes:-
    1. They cannot perform photosynthesis due to absence of chlorophyll.
    2. They grow from filamentous structure called hyphae.
    3. They play a very important role in soil biology.
    4. Saprophytes are hetrotropic.
    5. They do not have stems,leaves or roots.

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