Skip to main content

chemosynthesis

chemosynthesis, process in which carbohydrates are manufactured from carbon dioxide and water using chemical nutrients as the energy source, rather than the sunlight used for energy in photosynthesis. Most life on earth is fueled directly or indirectly by sunlight. There are, however, certain groups of bacteria, referred to as chemosynthetic autotrophs, that are fueled not by the sun but by the oxidation of simple inorganic chemicals, such as sulfates or ammonia. Chemosynthetic autotrophs are a necessary part of the nitrogen cycle. Some groups of these bacteria are well suited to conditions that would have existed on the earth billions of years ago, leading some to postulate that these are living representatives of the earliest life on earth. This view has been supported by the discovery of small ecosystems that thrive in the hot (350°C/660°F) water found around hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. In these ecosystems, the primary producers in the food web are bacteria whose life functions are fueled by inorganic chemicals that seep up from the earth's crust. See also autotroph.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chemosynthesis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chemosynthesis

"chemosynthesis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chemosynthesis

chemosynthesis

che·mo·syn·the·sis / ˌkēmōˈsin[unvoicedth]əsəs; ˌkemō-/ • n. Biol. the synthesis of organic compounds by bacteria or other living organisms using energy derived from reactions involving inorganic chemicals, typically in the absence of sunlight. Compare with photosynthesis. DERIVATIVES: che·mo·syn·thet·ic / -sinˈ[unvoicedth]etik/ adj.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chemosynthesis." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis

"chemosynthesis." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis

chemosynthesis

chemosynthesis A type of autotrophic nutrition in which organisms (called chemoautotrophs) synthesize organic materials using energy derived from the oxidation of inorganic chemicals, rather than from sunlight. Most chemoautotrophs are bacteria, including Nitrosomonas, which oxidizes ammonium to nitrite; and Thiobacillus, which oxidizes sulphur to sulphate.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis-0

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis-0

chemosynthesis

chemosynthesis The pathway by which bacteria in hydrothermal vent communities synthesize complex organic molecules from hydrogen sulphide gas and dissolved carbon dioxide: 4H2S + CO2 + O2 → CH2O + 4S + 3H2O.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis