functional groupmedical dictionary

1. <chemistry> The specific atom that give a biomolecule a specific chemical characteristic.

2. <ecology> This ecological term refers to groups of organisms that obtain energy in similar ways. Autotrophic plants fix energy from sunlight. Fungi and bacteria decompose organic matter. Shredders chew large particles like tree leaves. Scrapers rasp periphyton and microbes from solid surfaces. Collectors filter fine particles from the water or gather them from deposits.

(05 Jan 1998)