|MadSci Network: Environment|
Water is certainly necessary for decomposition and in some cases the amount of water will influence the rate of decomposition. Water does this by keeping things wet - that sounds simplistic I know but that's basically it. Decomposition of biological material is usually done by microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, and they have an absolute requirement for water in order to grow and survive, just as you do. Water helps to keep nutrients and other things in solution, can keep things moving around and such. Sometimes too much water can be bad for decomposition since a lot of water may dilute nutrients down too much, or may wash away nutrients or bacteria. In general, the warmer a process is, the faster it goes, but it can't be so warm that it kills the microorganisms responsible for decomposition. Check out the following sites for more info: http://people.howstuf fworks.com/landfill6.htm http://home.howstuffw orks.com/composting1.htm Hope this helps
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