detritus(redirected from detrital)
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(1) In biology, dead organic or partially mineralized matter suspended in water in the form of particles measuring from several microns to several centimeters. Detritus forms from moribund plants and animals or their excretions, and frequently the organic matter is adsorbed on the surface of mineral suspensions. Microorganisms are al-ways present in detritus, which serves as the principal food for the water animals known as detritophages.
(2) In geology, detritus is organogenetic fragmentary material found in sediments or sedimentary rocks and composed of shell fragments; the skeletal fragments of sponges, bryozoans, corals, or other invertebrates; and the bones of vertebrates (bone detritus) and fragments of plant tissue (plant detritus).