The word "chemosynthesis" was originally coined by Wilhelm Pfeffer in 1897 to describe energy production by oxidation of inorganic molecules by autotrophs (chemolithoautotrophy).Under the modern definition, chemosynthesis also describes energy production via chemoorganoautotrophy.
Another example of chemosynthesis was discovered in 2013 when bacteria were found living in basalt below the sediment of the ocean floor.
These bacteria were not associated with a hydrothermal vent.
The official discovery of chemosynthesis is credited to Cavanaugh.
Organisms that obtain energy by oxidation of electron donors are called chemotrophs.
Using hydrogen sulfide as the energy source, the reaction for chemosynthesis is: This is much like the reaction to produce carbohydrate via photosynthesis, except photosynthesis releases oxygen gas, while chemosynthesis yields solid sulfur.
The yellow sulfur granules are visible in the cytoplasm of bacteria that perform the reaction.Chemosynthesis is the conversion of carbon compounds and other molecules into organic compounds.In this biochemical reaction, methane or an inorganic compound, such as hydrogen sulfide or hydrogen gas, is oxidized to act as the energy source.Many chemosynthetic microorganisms are consumed by other organisms in the ocean, and symbiotic associations between chemosynthesizers and respiring heterotrophs are quite common.Large populations of animals can be supported by chemosynthetic secondary production at hydrothermal vents, methane clathrates, cold seeps, whale falls, and isolated cave water.In contrast, the energy source for photosynthesis (the set of reactions through which carbon dioxide and water are converted into glucose and oxygen) uses energy from sunlight to power the process.The idea that microorganisms could live on inorganic compounds was proposed by Sergei Nikolaevich Vinogradnsii (Winogradsky) in 1890, based on research conducted on bacteria which appeared to live from nitrogen, iron, or sulfur.In addition to bacterial and archaea, some larger organisms rely on chemosynthesis.A good example is the giant tube worm which is found in great numbers surrounding deep hydrothermal vents.In contrast, organisms that use solar energy are called phototrophs.Chemoautotrophs obtain their energy from chemical reactions and synthesize organic compounds from carbon dioxide.