|Stages of death|
Decomposition is the process by which organic substances are broken down into a much simpler form of matter. The process is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biome. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death. Although no two organisms decompose in the same way, they all undergo the same sequential stages of decomposition. The science which studies decomposition is generally referred to as taphonomy from the Greek word τάφος taphos, meaning tomb.
One can differentiate abiotic from biotic decomposition (biodegradation). The former means "degradation of a substance by chemical or physical processes, e.g. hydrolysis.<ref>Water Quality Vocabulary. ISO 6107-6:1994.</ref> The latter one means "the metabolic breakdown of materials into simpler components by living organisms",<ref>Water Words Dictionary (WWD)</ref> typically by microorganisms.
Intro Animal decomposition Plant decomposition Food decomposition Importance to forensics Factors affecting decomposition See also References External links
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