Skip to main content
Select Source:

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. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chemosynthesis

"chemosynthesis." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/chemosynthesis

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis

"chemosynthesis." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis-0

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

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. 9 Jul. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 9, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis

"chemosynthesis." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/chemosynthesis

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.