[ kee-moh-sin-thuh-sis, kem-oh- ]
/ ˌki moʊˈsɪn θə sɪs, ˌkɛm oʊ- /

noun Biology, Biochemistry.

the synthesis of organic compounds within an organism, with chemical reactions providing the energy source.

Nearby words

  1. chemosphere,
  2. chemostat,
  3. chemosterilant,
  4. chemosterilize,
  5. chemosurgery,
  6. chemosynthetic bacteria,
  7. chemotactic,
  8. chemotaxis,
  9. chemotaxonomy,
  10. chemotherapeutics

Origin of chemosynthesis

First recorded in 1900–05; chemo- + synthesis

Related formsche·mo·syn·thet·ic [kee-moh-sin-thet-ik, kem-oh-] /ˌki moʊ sɪnˈθɛt ɪk, ˌkɛm oʊ-/, adjectiveche·mo·syn·thet·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for chemosynthesis


/ (ˌkɛməʊˈsɪnθɪsɪs) /


the formation of organic material by certain bacteria using energy derived from simple chemical reactions
Derived Formschemosynthetic (ˌkɛməʊsɪnˈθɛtɪk), adjectivechemosynthetically, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for chemosynthesis



1898, from chemo- + synthesis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for chemosynthesis


[ kē′mō-sĭnthĭ-sĭs ]

The formation of organic compounds using the energy released from chemical reactions instead of the energy of sunlight. Bacteria living in aphotic areas of the ocean are able to survive by chemosynthesis. They use energy derived from the oxidation of inorganic chemicals, such as sulfur released from deep hydrothermal vents, to produce their food. Compare photosynthesis.
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