MadSci Network: Environment

Re: i'm trying to understand how water impacts decomposition

Date: Tue Mar 25 08:47:55 2008
Posted By: Bob Vieth, Staff, Education Initiatives, CT Center for Advanced Technology, Inc.
Area of science: Environment
ID: 1205938663.En

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 

Check out the following sites for more info: http://people.howstuf http://home.howstuffw

Hope this helps

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