Definition of saprophyte in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈsaprəˌfīt/


A plant, fungus, or microorganism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter.
Example sentences
  • Unlike more advanced plants, fungi lack chlorophyll and so can only grow as saprophytes (from dead plants or animals); or as parasites (on living plants); or in a mycorrhizal relationship (symbiosis between fungi and the roots of trees).
  • Most fungi are saprophytes, feeding on dead or decaying material.
  • While the leaf was young and healthy, many other fungal colonists - the true saprophytes (organisms living on dead or decaying matter) - remained quiescent.



Pronunciation: /ˌsaprəˈfidik/
Example sentences
  • It imparts rigidity to the cell wall and is responsible for decay resistance that enables the cells to withstand the saprophytic activity of organisms capable of degrading non-lignified cell walls.
  • In the standard saprophytic serovars and the saprophytic isolates from water sources there was no digestion with this enzyme and the original 482 bp band appeared as such in these strains.
  • Since then, there have been other reports describing various saprophytic fungal organisms in cultures from allergic mucin.


Pronunciation: /-ik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • It is a dimorphic fungus that exists saprophytically in nature and has a worldwide distribution.
  • Therefore, we hypothesize that these organisms lived saprophytically upon sulfate-reducing bacteria, rather than feeding in the water column.
  • On dung, the fungus usually appears as part of a succession of different genera, not independently, and can also live saprophytically on plant remains.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sap·ro·phyte

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.