Biotic material

Biotic material or biological derived material is any material that originates from living organisms. Most such materials contain carbon and are capable of decay.

The earliest life on Earth arose at least 3.5 billion years ago.[1][2][3] Earlier physical evidences of life include graphite, a biogenic substance, in 3.7 billion-year-old metasedimentary rocks discovered in southwestern Greenland,[4] as well as, "remains of biotic life" found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia.[5][6] Earth's biodiversity has expanded continually except when interrupted by mass extinctions.[7] Although scholars estimate that over 99 percent of all species of life (over five billion)[8] that ever lived on Earth are extinct,[9][10] there are still an estimated 10–14 million extant species,[11][12] of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86% have not yet been described.[13]

Examples of biotic materials are wood, straw, humus, manure, bark, crude oil, cotton, spider silk, chitin, fibrin, and bone.

The use of biotic materials, and processed biotic materials (bio-based material) as alternative natural materials, over synthetics is popular with those who are environmentally conscious because such materials are usually biodegradable, renewable, and the processing is commonly understood and has minimal environmental impact. However, not all biotic materials are used in an environmentally friendly way, such as those that require high levels of processing, are harvested unsustainably, or are used to produce carbon emissions.

When the source of the recently living material has little importance to the product produced, such as in the production of biofuels, biotic material is simply called biomass. Many fuel sources may have biological sources, and may be divided roughly into fossil fuels, and biofuel.

In soil science, biotic material is often referred to as organic matter. Biotic materials in soil include glomalin, Dopplerite and humic acid. Some biotic material may not be considered to be organic matter if it is low in organic compounds, such as a clam's shell, which is an essential component of the living organism, but contains little organic carbon.

Examples of the use of biotic materials include:


  1. ^ Schopf, JW, Kudryavtsev, AB, Czaja, AD, and Tripathi, AB. (2007). Evidence of some Archean life: Stromatolites and microfossils. Precambrian Research 158:141–155.
  2. ^ Schopf, JW (2006). Fossil evidence of Archaean life. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 29;361(1470) 869-85.
  3. ^ Hamilton Raven, Peter; Brooks Johnson, George (2002). Biology. McGraw-Hill Education. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-07-112261-0. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  4. ^ Ohtomo, Yoko; Kakegawa, Takeshi; Ishida, Akizumi; et al. (January 2014). "Evidence for biogenic graphite in early Archaean Isua metasedimentary rocks". Nature Geoscience. London: Nature Publishing Group. 7 (1): 25–28. Bibcode:2014NatGe...7...25O. doi:10.1038/ngeo2025. ISSN 1752-0894.
  5. ^ Borenstein, Seth (19 October 2015). "Hints of life on what was thought to be desolate early Earth". Excite. Yonkers, NY: Mindspark Interactive Network. Associated Press. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  6. ^ Bell, Elizabeth A.; Boehnike, Patrick; Harrison, T. Mark; et al. (19 October 2015). "Potentially biogenic carbon preserved in a 4.1 billion-year-old zircon" (PDF). Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences. 112: 14518–21. Bibcode:2015PNAS..11214518B. doi:10.1073/pnas.1517557112. ISSN 1091-6490. PMC 4664351. PMID 26483481. Retrieved 2015-10-20. Early edition, published online before print.
  7. ^ Sahney, S.; Benton, M.J. & Ferry, P.A. (27 January 2010). "Links between global taxonomic diversity, ecological diversity and the expansion of vertebrates on land" (PDF). Biology Letters. 6 (4): 544–47. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.1024. PMC 2936204. PMID 20106856.
  8. ^ Kunin, W.E.; Gaston, Kevin, eds. (31 December 1996). The Biology of Rarity: Causes and consequences of rare—common differences. ISBN 978-0412633805. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  9. ^ Stearns, Beverly Peterson; Stearns, S. C.; Stearns, Stephen C. (2000). Watching, from the Edge of Extinction. Yale University Press. p. preface x. ISBN 978-0-300-08469-6. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  10. ^ Novacek, Michael J. (8 November 2014). "Prehistory's Brilliant Future". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  11. ^ May, Robert M. (1988). "How many species are there on earth?". Science. 241 (4872): 1441–1449. Bibcode:1988Sci...241.1441M. doi:10.1126/science.241.4872.1441. PMID 17790039.
  12. ^ Miller, G.; Spoolman, Scott (1 January 2012). "Biodiversity and Evolution". Environmental Science. Cengage Learning. p. 62. ISBN 1-133-70787-4. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  13. ^ Mora, C.; Tittensor, D.P.; Adl, S.; Simpson, A.G.; Worm, B. (23 August 2011). "How many species are there on Earth and in the ocean?". PLOS Biology. 9: e1001127. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127. PMC 3160336. PMID 21886479.
Acquired characteristic

An acquired characteristic is a non-heritable change in a function or structure of a living biotic material caused after birth by disease, injury, accident, deliberate modification, variation, repeated use, disuse, or misuse, or other environmental influences. Acquired traits, which is synonymous with acquired characteristics, are not passed on to offspring through reproduction alone.

The changes that constitute acquired characteristics can have many manifestations and degrees of visibility but they all have one thing in common: they change a facet of a living organisms' function or structure after the organism has left the womb.

The children of former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger may have highly developed or otherwise above average musculature.

"Lucky", an adult, three-legged dog who got her name after surviving being hit by a car when she was a pup, just gave birth to five puppies. None had limps, malformed/abnormal legs, or were missing a leg.

Bonsai are normal plants that have been grown to remain small through cultivation techniques.Acquired characteristics can be minor and temporary like bruises, blisters, shaving body hair, and body building. Permanent but inconspicuous or invisible ones are corrective eye surgery and organ transplant or removal.

Semi-permanent but inconspicuous or invisible traits are vaccinations and laser hair removal. Perms, tattoos, scars, and amputations are semi-permanent and highly visible.

Applying makeup and nailpolish, dying one's hair or applying henna to the skin, and tooth whitening are not examples of acquired traits. They change the appearance of a facet of an organism, but do not change the structure or functionality.

Inheritance of acquired characters was historically proposed by renowned theorists such as Hippocrates, Aristotle, and French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Conversely, this hypothesis was denounced by other renowned theorists such as Charles Darwin.

Today, although Lamarckism is generally discredited, there is still debate on whether some acquired characteristics in organisms are actually inheritable.

Bio-based material

A bio-based material is a material intentionally made from substances derived from living (or once-living) organisms. These materials are sometimes referred to as biomaterials, but this word also has another meaning. Strictly the definition could include many common materials such as wood and leather, but it typically refers to modern materials that have undergone more extensive processing. Unprocessed materials may be called biotic material. Bio-based materials or biomaterials fall under the broader category of bioproducts or bio-based products which includes materials, chemicals and energy derived from renewable biological resources.

Bio-based materials are often biodegradable, but this is not always the case.

Examples include:

cellulose fibers — fibers made from reconstituted cellulose.

casein — a phosphoprotein extracted from milk during the process of creating low fat milk, it is processed in various ways to make: plastic, dietary supplements for body builders, glue, cotton candy, protective coatings, paints, and occurs naturally in cheese, giving it a creamy texture.

polylactic acid — a polymer produced by industrial fermentation

bioplastics — include a soy oil based plastic now being used to make body panels for John Deere tractors

engineered wood — products such as oriented strand board and particle board

zein — a natural biopolymer which is the most abundant corn protein

cornstarch — the starch of the maize grain, used to make packing pellets

grease — lubricants made from vegetable oils, including soybean oil, that can replace petroleum based lubricants


Biotics describe living or once living components of a community; for example organisms, such as animals and plants.

Biotic may refer to:

Life, the condition of living organisms

Biology, the study of life

Biotic material, which is derived from living organisms

Biotic components in ecology

Biotic potential, an organism's reproductive capacity

Biotic community, all the interacting organisms living together in a specific habitat

Biotic energy, a vital force theorized by biochemist Benjamin MooreBiotic may also refer to:

Biotic Baking Brigade, an unofficial group of pie-throwing activistsAbiotic Non living


Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements; chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen.

Coal is formed if dead plant matter decays into peat and over millions of years the heat and pressure of deep burial converts the peat into coal.As a fossil fuel burned for heat coal supplies about a quarter of the world's primary energy and is the largest source of energy for the generation of electricity. Some iron and steel making and other industrial processes burn coal.

The extraction and use of coal causes many premature deaths and much illness. Coal damages the environment; including by climate change as it is the largest anthropogenic source of carbon dioxide, 14 Gt in 2016 which is 40% of the total fossil fuel emissions. As part of the worldwide energy transition many countries have stopped using or use less coal.

The largest consumer and importer of coal is China. And China mines almost half the world's coal, followed by India with about a tenth. Australia accounts for about a third of world coal exports followed by Indonesia and Russia.


Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth revolves around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times.Earth's axis of rotation is tilted with respect to its orbital plane, producing seasons on Earth. The gravitational interaction between Earth and the Moon causes ocean tides, stabilizes Earth's orientation on its axis, and gradually slows its rotation. Earth is the densest planet in the Solar System and the largest of the four terrestrial planets.Earth's lithosphere is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of Earth's surface is covered with water, mostly by oceans. The remaining 29% is land consisting of continents and islands that together have many lakes, rivers and other sources of water that contribute to the hydrosphere. The majority of Earth's polar regions are covered in ice, including the Antarctic ice sheet and the sea ice of the Arctic ice pack. Earth's interior remains active with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates the Earth's magnetic field, and a convecting mantle that drives plate tectonics.

Within the first billion years of Earth's history, life appeared in the oceans and began to affect the Earth's atmosphere and surface, leading to the proliferation of aerobic and anaerobic organisms. Some geological evidence indicates that life may have arisen as much as 4.1 billion years ago. Since then, the combination of Earth's distance from the Sun, physical properties, and geological history have allowed life to evolve and thrive. In the history of the Earth, biodiversity has gone through long periods of expansion, occasionally punctuated by mass extinction events. Over 99% of all species that ever lived on Earth are extinct. Estimates of the number of species on Earth today vary widely; most species have not been described. Over 7.6 billion humans live on Earth and depend on its biosphere and natural resources for their survival. Humans have developed diverse societies and cultures; politically, the world has about 200 sovereign states.


In soil science, humus (derived in 1790–1800 from the Latin humus for earth, ground) denominates the fraction of soil organic matter that is amorphous and without the "cellular cake structure characteristic of plants, micro-organisms or animals." Humus significantly affects the bulk density of soil and contributes to its retention of moisture and nutrients.

In agriculture, "humus" sometimes also is used to describe mature or natural compost extracted from a woodland or other spontaneous source for use as a soil conditioner. It is also used to describe a topsoil horizon that contains organic matter (humus type, humus form, humus profile).Humus is the dark organic matter that forms in soil when dead plant and animal matter decays. Humus has many nutrients that improve the health of soil, nitrogen being the most important. The ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C:N) of humus is 10:1.


Incense is aromatic biotic material that releases fragrant smoke when burned. The term refers to the material itself, rather than to the aroma that it produces. Incense is used for aesthetic reasons, and in therapy, meditation, and ceremony. It may also be used as a simple deodorant or insectifuge.Incense is composed of aromatic plant materials, often combined with essential oils. The forms taken by incense differ with the underlying culture, and have changed with advances in technology and increasing number of uses.Incense can generally be separated into two main types: "indirect-burning" and "direct-burning". Indirect-burning incense (or "non-combustible incense") is not capable of burning on its own, and requires a separate heat source. Direct-burning incense (or "combustible incense") is lit directly by a flame and then fanned or blown out, leaving a glowing ember that smoulders and releases a smoky fragrance. Direct-burning incense is either a paste formed around a bamboo stick, or a paste that is extruded into a stick or cone shape.

Organic matter

Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter (NOM) refers to the large pool of carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial and aquatic environments. It is matter composed of organic compounds that have come from the remains of organisms such as plants and animals and their waste products in the environment. Organic molecules can also be made by chemical reactions that don't involve life. Basic structures are created from cellulose, tannin, cutin, and lignin, along with other various proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Organic matter is very important in the movement of nutrients in the environment and plays a role in water retention on the surface of the planet.

Outline of ecology

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ecology:

Ecology – scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how the distribution and abundance are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment. The environment of an organism includes both physical properties, which can be described as the sum of local abiotic factors such as solar insolation, climate and geology, as well as the other organisms that share its habitat. Also called ecological science.


Panspermia (from Ancient Greek πᾶν (pan), meaning 'all', and σπέρμα (sperma), meaning 'seed') is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by space dust, meteoroids, asteroids, comets, planetoids, and also by spacecraft carrying unintended contamination by microorganisms. Distribution may have occurred between galaxies, and so may not be restricted to the limited scale of solar systems.Panspermia hypotheses propose (for example) that microscopic life-forms that can survive the effects of space (such as extremophiles) can become trapped in debris ejected into space after collisions between planets and small Solar System bodies that harbor life. Some organisms may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary disks. Under certain ideal impact circumstances (into a body of water, for example), and ideal conditions on a new planet's surfaces, it is possible that the surviving organisms could become active and begin to colonize their new environment. Panspermia studies concentrate not on how life began, but on the methods that may cause its distribution in the Universe.Pseudo-panspermia (sometimes called "soft panspermia" or "molecular panspermia") argues that the pre-biotic organic building-blocks of life originated in space, became incorporated in the solar nebula from which planets condensed, and were further—and continuously—distributed to planetary surfaces where life then emerged (abiogenesis). From the early 1970s, it started to become evident that interstellar dust included a large component of organic molecules. Interstellar molecules are formed by chemical reactions within very sparse interstellar or circumstellar clouds of dust and gas. The dust plays a critical role in shielding the molecules from the ionizing effect of ultraviolet radiation emitted by stars.The chemistry leading to life may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during a habitable epoch when the Universe was only 10 to 17 million years old. Though the presence of life is confirmed only on the Earth, some scientists think that extraterrestrial life is not only plausible, but probable or inevitable. Probes and instruments have started examining other planets and moons in the Solar System and in other planetary systems for evidence of having once supported simple life, and projects such as SETI attempt to detect radio transmissions from possible extraterrestrial civilizations.

Soil carbon

Soil carbon includes both inorganic carbon as carbonate minerals, and as soil organic matter. Soil carbon plays a key role in the carbon cycle, and thus it is important in global climate models.

Soil organic matter

Soil organic matter (SOM) is the organic matter component of soil, consisting of plant and animal residues at various stages of decomposition, cells and tissues of soil organisms, and substances synthesized by soil organisms. SOM exerts numerous positive effects on soil physical and chemical properties, as well as the soil’s capacity to provide regulatory ecosystem services. Particularly, the presence of SOM is regarded as being critical for soil function and soil quality.The positive impacts of SOM result from a number of complex, interactive edaphic factors; a non-exhaustive list of SOM's effects on soil functioning includes improvements related to soil structure, aggregation, water retention, soil biodiversity, absorption and retention of pollutants, buffering capacity, and the cycling and storage of plant nutrients. SOM increases soil fertility by providing cation exchange sites and acting as reserve of plant nutrients, especially nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and sulfur (S), along with micronutrients, which are slowly released upon SOM mineralization. As such, there is a significant correlation between SOM content and soil fertility.

SOM also acts as a major sink and source of soil carbon (C). Although the C content of SOM is known to vary considerably, SOM is typically estimated to contain 58% C, and the terms 'soil organic carbon' (SOC) and SOM are often used interchangeably, with measured SOC content often serving as a proxy for SOM. Soil represents one of the largest C sinks on the planet and plays a major role in the global carbon cycle. Therefore, SOM/SOC dynamics and the capacity of soils to provide the ecosystem service of carbon sequestration through SOM management have received considerable attention in recent years.

The concentration of SOM in soils generally ranges from 1% to 6% of the total topsoil mass for most upland soils. Soils whose upper horizons consist of less than 1% organic matter are mostly limited to desert areas, while the SOM content of soils in low-lying, wet areas can be as high as 90%. Soils containing 12-18% SOC are generally classified as organic soils.It can be divided into three general pools: living biomass of microorganisms, fresh and partially decomposed residues, and humus: the well-decomposed organic material. Surface plant litter is generally not included as part of soil organic matter.

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