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


An organism that lives on decaying organic matter.



(also saprobiont), a plant or animal that inhabits waters that are to some degree contaminated with organic matter. Polysaprobes inhabit severely contaminated waters, meso-saprobes moderately contaminated waters, and oligosaprobes slightly contaminated waters. The composition and quantity of saprobes and the structure of their communities serve as criteria for evaluating the degree of contamination of bodies of water by enterprises that process natural organic raw material. The ability of saprobes to mineralize the the organic matter of contamination promotes the self-purification of water, especially sewage water. (SeeBIOLOGICAL SEWAGE TREATMENT.)


Zernov, S. A. Obshchaia gidrobiologiia, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Telitchenko, M. M., and K. A. Kokin. Sanitarnaia gidrobiologiia. Moscow, 1968.
Liebmann, H. Handbuch der Frischwasser- und Abwasser-Biologie, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Munich, 1962. M. M. Telitchenko
References in periodicals archive ?
These fungi are regular soil saprobes that produce copious amounts of spores (Barnett and Hunter 2003), live free in soil, and can invade a perfectly healthy tick.
Study of endophytic Xylariaceae in Thailand: diversity and taxonomy inferred from rDNA sequence analyses with saprobes forming fruit bodies in the field.
Fusarium is a large genus of filamentous fungi, and most of Fusarium species are harmless saprobes and relatively abundant members of the soil microbial community (Alazem, 2007; Summerell et al., 2001; Onyika et al., 1993).
(2007) suggested that under certain conditions, some ECM fungal symbionts behave as saprobes, using litter and soil organic matter as substrates and providing the host trees with carbon at time when demand is high and photoassimilates are not yet available.
Weeds, weed residues, cover crops and green manures increase the organic residue in the soil, and pathogens such as Fusarium and Pythium species can survive in soil as facultative saprobes on these simple organic substrates when plant hosts are absent.
Fungi in the phylum Chytridiomycota have a nearly global distribution and occupy roles as heterotrophs and saprobes in water and soil (32).
Otomycosis is sporadic and caused by a wide variety of fungi, most of which are saprobes occurring in diverse types of environmental material.