SAT Subject Biology Practice Question 300: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 300

10. The role of decomposers in the nitrogen cycle is to

A. fix atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia
B. incorporate nitrogen into amino acids and organic compounds
C. convert ammonia to nitrate, which can then be absorbed by plants
D. denitrify ammonia, thus returning nitrogen to the atmosphere
E. release ammonia from organic compounds, thus returning it to the soil

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

E Decomposers take organic material and break it down into its individual compounds, thus returning these compounds back to the earth. The other processes listed are carried out by other organisms: nitrogen fixing bacteria (choice A), heterotrophs and autotrophs (choice B), and other soil bacteria (choices C and D).

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