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By Barnette D. W.

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Serial ingestion and egestion of plant structural materials mediated by a succession of these animals progressively reduces the average size of the decomposing materials while removing some of the more readily-digested components. Such decomposing plant materials may retain much of their original structure for long periods. As decomposition proceeds and the fragments of organic debris are reduced in size, cell contents are depleted and their walls collapse onto the vacuolar tannins which have resisted previous decomposition.

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Termitaria) origin are frequently present. During the later stages of decomposition of plant materials, less resistant materials are lost leaving only cell wall outlines and fragments which, in the terminal stages of decomposition, may appear amorphous under microscopic examination. Other directly-derived biological materials include such 6 CHAPTER I diverse products as plant root lysates and exudates, the faeces, excreta and secreta of animals, the cutaneous mucus secreted by earthworms and gels produced by micro-organisms.

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