What Is an Example of a Saprophyte?

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Some examples of saprophytes are the bacteria which subsist on human waste, the ink cap mushroom and non-photosynthetic plants, such as Indian pipe and gnome plant. Saprophyte is somewhat of an outdated name: fungi once termed saprophytes are now called saprobes, and plants once termed saprophytes are now called mycotrophic.

Saprophytes are organisms that subsist on dead matter. The term originally covered all such organisms, and is still used that way in some contexts. The bacteria, fungi and plants once called saprophytes are all genetically unrelated. However, plants which were classified as saprophytes do use saprobic fungi to obtain their nutrients in lieu of photosynthesis. Saprobic fungi and saprophytic bacteria obtain their nutrients directly from the digestion of dead material. Their feeding decomposes the material and helps enrich the surrounding soil.