The materials used in building the bodies of living things are limited to the atoms and molecules that make up this planet.

To maintain life on Earth, matter must be recycled.

Cycling of Organic Matter

Living things are constantly  cycling matter through their bodies and in ecosystems; break down organic matter and rebuild it.

Organic substances

– always contain carbon and hydrogen
– include proteins, carbohydrates, lipids
– make up the bodies of living things

Inorganic substances

– do not contain a combination of carbon and hydrogen
– include CO2, H2O, NH3
– can be integrated by living things becoming organic

3 Step Process:

Food is organic matter.  When living things eat organic matter it passes into that organism and becomes a part of it.

When living things die they begin to decay.  Decomposers (fungi, bacteria) break down organic matter of dead things into inorganic materials and place them in the soil.

Plants take inorganic matter out of the soil and atmosphere, integrate that matter into their bodies and make organic matter for other organisms to use.

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