Examples of saprophytic bacteria include cheese mold, lactic acid, yeast and rotting kitchen waste. Saprophytic bacteria are fungal organisms that feed off of decaying organic matter. The term "saprophyte" refers specifically to fungal and bacterial saprotrophs, but animal saprotrophs are known as saprozoites.
Saprophytic bacteria, or saprophytes, are parasitic unicellular organisms that derive energy from various forms of dead matter. They have no leaves, roots or stems so they cannot manufacture their own food and have to rely on attaching themselves to rotting plants. Saphrophytes are important in the plant life cycle and the ecosystem because they act as decomposers, breaking down dead organic matter and allowing it to be absorbed into the soil. The organisms, which contain nutrients such as iron, phosphorous and calcium, are taken up and recycled by plants. This process results in hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon and important minerals being sent back into the ecosystem in usable form, which is necessary for the survival of plant life and other living beings. Ironically, saprophytic decay is responsible for many things that humans are familiar with and enjoy in everyday life such as the taste of certain cheeses, yogurts and wine, the froth on beer and the way bread rises when baked.