Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.


A heterotrophic organism (including bacteria and fungi) which breaks down the complex compounds of dead protoplasm, absorbs some decomposition products, and releases substances usable by consumers. Also known as microcomposer; microconsumer; reducer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an apparatus that decomposes aluminate solutions in order to isolate crystalline aluminum hydroxide.

A decomposer is fitted with a mechanical stirrring device or an air mixer. A decomposer with mechanical stirring consists of a steel tank (diameter and height, 8 m), inside which a chain stirrer turns slowly in order to keep the seeding crystals in suspension. Air-stirred decomposers have come into extensive use (height, about 30 m; diameter, 8 m; available capacity, over 1,000 cu m). The stirring equipment consists of two vertical tubes along the decomposer’s axis. The inner tube, through which compressed air is sent under a pressure of 0.5 meganewtons per sq m, is 300 mm shorter than the outer one.

Air mixing with the solution forms an air-pulp mixture less dense than the pulp itself. Rising through the space between the tubes, this mixture attracts adjacent layers of pulp, mixes with them, and creates continuous upward motion of the pulp. Decomposers are connected in series (10-15 units). The aluminate solution and seeding are sent continuously to the head decomposers of each series, while the hydrated pulp is removed continuously from the tail end.


Lainer, A. I. Proizvodstvo glinozema. Moscow, 1961.
Beliaev, A. I. Metallurgiia legkikh metallov, 6th ed. Moscow, 1970.




a saprophytic organism that mineralizes dead organic matter, that is, breaks organic matter down into more or less simple inorganic compounds. The overwhelming majority of decomposers are microorganisms that live in soil and water. They belong to the group of consumers.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Where--[([b".sub.16].sup.(2)] ([G.sub.19], t), - [([b".sub.17].sup.(2) ([G.sub.19], t), - [([b".sub.18].sup.(2)] ([G.sub.19], t) are first detrition coefficients for category 1, 2 and 3 of decomposer organism due to disintegration of dead organic matter by decomposer organism.
Large molecular weight compounds found in leaves such as lignin also play a role in slowing down the decomposition process as decomposers must first release enzymes to break down these large molecules (Melillo and others 1982).
Upon leaving the decomposer, the stream of pellets at 230-240[degrees]C is lifted about 20 m by means of an enclosed bucket elevator.
Relatively small effects of plant removal on the decomposer food web were also apparent in soil processes regulated by this food web.
We quantified the amount of energy and nutrients incorporated into each of four pathways: ingested by nest predators; consumed by detritivores, decomposers, and plants; lost as metabolic heat or gases during embryological development and hatching; or returned to the ocean as hatchlings.
2) Depletion phenomenon: Disintegration of dead organic matter by decomposer organism dissipates the growth speed by an equivalent extent.
Il avait fini par se decomposer", a indique lundi le selectionneur Vicente Del Bosque, sur les ondes de la radio espagnole Cope.
Giles and Allsopp are joint composers, although the latter prefers to herald himself as a "decomposer".
Commonly cited limitations to decomposition include factors that directly affect the activity of decomposer organisms (e.g., temperature, moisture, and pH) and factors that affect resource availability for decomposers (e.g., soil nutrient availability and carbon and nutrient chemistry of the decomposing litter) (Swift et al.