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What Is Biomass In Biology

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Biomass And Related Changes

GCSE Biology – Pyramids of Biomass #86

Biomass, from the forest point of view, is defined as the total amount of aboveground living organic matter in trees expressed as oven-dry tonnes per unit area . The term biomass density is used when the biomass is presented as mass per unit area. The product between the estimated forest biomass density and the corresponding forest area gives the total biomass. The total biomass for a country or region, when different forest types exist, is estimated from the sum of the individual total biomass for each type.

Many methods exist to estimate biomass density, and these can be found in the related literature. These methods are provided for individual trees, plantations, and forest stands. The already existing data may prove to be not always useful, since they may have been developed for other purposes and may lack the necessary information to generate reliable estimates. The estimates of the changes in the forest area, if provided by broad vegetation types, can be coupled with estimates of biomass density of these types to generate estimates of the changes in the total biomass. This approach may be satisfactory for generating changes in total biomass at regional or global levels. However, the statistical reliability of the estimates, at country level, is in general low.

E. O’Connor, in, 2003

Organisation Of An Ecosystem

The feeding relationships between organisms in an ecosystem can be seen in food chains. Sampling allows us to measure the abundance and distribution of these species.

Biomass is living or recently dead tissues. The mass of your body is biomass because you are alive. Wood is considered biomass because it was recently a plant. Fossil fuels are not considered biomass because they are the remains of organisms that died millions of years ago and have been chemically changed from the original living tissue.

What Is Inside The Pyramid

The pharaohs final resting place was usually within a subterranean burial chamber underneath the pyramid. Although the Great Pyramid has subterranean chambers, they were never completed, and Khufus sarcophagus rests in the Kings Chamber, where Napoleon is said to have sojourned, deep inside the Great Pyramid.

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An Introduction To Biomass

In this universe, anything having physical characteristics and exhibiting material nature occupies some space due to the ability which is referred to as mass. Such ability of biotic living organisms is termed as biomass. Simply, the mass of living beings in a certain area and during a specific period of time is called biomass. This tells us the expression that biomass can be measured or expressed as the mass of living organisms per unit area. The biomass can be studied as a particular species in a given area and time. When we study an ecosystem that is basically a community of organisms we will include biomass of all the organisms belonging to different species and term it as the mass of a community.

Ways To Produce Biomass Energy

Ecological Pyramid

One of the primitive ways of producing biomass energy is to burn the organic material and utilize the heat energy produced from it. The thermal conversion of biomass involves heating the feedstock so that energy is released, the feedstock is dehydrated, or the biomass is stabilized. The common source of biomass feedstock is the municipal solid wastes and also waste from lumber mills and paper factories.

The different processes of thermal conversion are direct firing, pyrolysis, co-firing, gasification, as well as anaerobic decomposition. Before the biomass is burnt, they are needed to be dried. The chemical process of drying biomasses is called torrefaction. In this process, the biomass is heated to a temperature of 200 to 320C. The biomass not only loses all its moisture, and also loses the ability to absorb it. After torrefaction, the biomass is converted into a black dry material, which is then compressed to form briquettes. Briquettes are highly hydrophobic, thus enabling them to be kept in moist places. Also, the briquettes have high energy density and can easily be burnt by direct firing or co-firing.

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Ecological Study Of Biomass

In ecology, we can use the idea of ecological pyramids to correlate it with the idea of biomass. Ecological pyramids are theoretical pyramidal structures having levels. These ecological levels or actually trophic levels. The pyramid is supposed to go from the base towards the apex. The producers or the organisms capable of photosynthesis are at the bottom. These are also known as autotrophs. Being at the bottom they have the highest biomass production rate.

Bioenergy Biofuels And/or Biomaterials

Biomass combustion to generate electricity is a simple way to produce bioenergy. The lignin in plant biomass has a high energy content for this application. This allows the option of converting the carbohydrate fraction of the biomass to biofuel or biomaterial and burning the residual lignin to generate electricity. The relative value of electricity and liquid fuels will determine the optimal use of the biomass. This may vary regionally and over time being influenced greatly by the price of oil.

Plant biomass can be converted to fuel or to other materials such as plastics, fabrics, and carpets and specialty chemicals that are made traditionally from fossil oils. This uses may have a higher value than fuel use and may be a more attractive use for plant biomass. Production of both fuel and biomaterials as coproducts of biomass processing may ensure economic production is possible. High-value biochemical products are the most likely to be produced commercially.

T. Krug, J.R. dos Santos, in, 2004

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How Does A Biomass Pyramid Work

An organisms biomass is made out of its total dry mass. The biomass in a given step within a food chain will always be smaller than the one from the previous step. To easily illustrate how this happens, the same food chain used above works perfectly: grass seeds are eaten by the mouse field, which is eaten by the owl.

In this case, the biomass of the grass stands at the bottom of the biomass pyramid since it has the greatest biomass in the chain. In the same vein, the owl sits on top of the pyramid, having the lowest biomass in the chain.

More complex food chains better define the underlying principles of a biomass pyramid: an oak tree feeds a caterpillar, which feeds a blue tit, which feeds a sparrow hawk.

The biomass pyramid of this four step food chain starts off with the oak tree at the bottom. The large oak tree is capable of feeding not one, but dozens of caterpillars. In a similar manner, a single caterpillar is not enough to feed a blue tit, just like a single blue tit will not be sufficient to feed the sparrow hawk.

This perfectly explains the way a biomass pyramid works, almost resembling a worksheet. The oak tree has a large biomass hence it is capable of feeding several caterpillars. The upright biomass pyramid indicates that the biomass of the organisms decreases towards the peak, ending with the significantly smaller mass of the sparrow hawk that can be found at the top of the food chain.

Difference Between Biomass And Other Fossil Fuels

Pyramids of Biomass – GCSE Biology

1) The first, foremost and major difference is the Time Difference, i.e. the time required for it to be generated.

2) Biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it is developing, and returns as it is burned.

3) Biomass can be converted into ethanol by a thermal process and into methanol by fermentation and digestion.

4) Fuels have a high energy density, and burning and utilizing it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

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Food Chain Vs Biomass Pyramid

While food chains convey the feeding relations within a certain habitat, biomass pyramids are in charge of showing the mass organisms for different levels within the food chain. However, pyramids of biomass are not a perfect representation of the energy that can be found in an ecosystem.

Their one flaw is that they can point to higher amounts of energy than there actually are. To better illustrate this, we can think of the beaks and skeletons of birds. Despite the fact that they are not eaten by consumers, they still count as mass and heavily influence the numbers.

Biomass represents the food for the higher trophic level up the food chain. At the same time, biomass has the ability to work as a renewable energy resource, decreasing the ever growing dependence on fossil fuels and helping fight off air pollution.

Energy is lost as it moves up on the food chain, which restricts the chains length. This is why, in the long run, plants are a more efficient way to feed people than meat. Since living organisms are in direct competition with each other over resources, predator populations are closely interrelated.

Definition Of Biomass In Terms Of Energy

Definition of Biomass could be, the energy that is generated from biomass is called biomass energy. All organic matter that can produce energy when reactions are done with it can produce biomass energy. These can be wood, leaves, pellets, fecal wastes, and other organic matters. Technically speaking, biomass energy was discovered back during the ages when humans used to live in caves. Marco Polo, in the 13th century, described the use of biomass for the production of fuel after taking inspiration from the Chinese who used to cover sewage tanks to generate biogas.

Biomass energy can be both renewable and non-renewable. The first source of energy in the production of biomass is the sun. The plants convert solar energy by photosynthesis into chemical energy as food and subsequently uses it in their growth, which is later converted to fuel. The energy derived from biomass can be processed directly by burning to produce heat, or converted directly into electricity, or can also be processed to produce biofuels in an indirect manner.

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What Is Pyramid With Example

The definition of a pyramid is a structure with a square base and four sloping triangular sides that meet at one point, or a financial strategy where additional rewards are earned based on previously-earned rewards. An example of a pyramid is the figure on the back left side of the U.S. one dollar bill.

Biomass In Biology Topic


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Biomass: Meaning Sources And The Future Of Biomass

Biomass: Meaning, Sources and the Future of Biomass!

The capacity to do work is referred to as energy. Energy may be considered as a form of matter which is inter-convertible. The modern man is mostly dependent on three sources for his energy needscoal, natural gas and oils, collectively referred to as fossil fuels or fossil energy sources.

The fear of depletion of global fossil fuels has forced man to look for suitable alternative energy sources such as solar, hydro, tidal and wind power, and more recently nuclear energy. In addition to these, advances in biotechnology have helped to fruitfully utilize the energy from biological systems.


Biomass is the total cellular and organic mass, produced by the living organisms. It is the primary product of photosynthesis and is a good source of energy i.e. bioenergy. Broadly speaking, biomass represents all forms of matter derived from biological activities. These include plants and agricultural products, microorganisms, animal wastes and manure.

The term biomass is also used to collectively describe the waste materials produced in food and agricultural industries. Besides being a good source of energy, biomass is important for the production of several commercially important products. Thus, biomass is appropriately regarded as a renewable source of energy which can be directly converted to energy or energy carrier compounds by various means.

Fossil fuels-derivatives of biomass:

Chemical nature of biomass:


Apparatus & Techniques: Finding The Dry Mass And Energy Value Of Plant Biomass

  • Dry mass is used to measure the mass of living material in a plant sample
  • The dry mass is the mass of the organism or tissue after all the water has been removed
  • To find the dry mass, the sample must first be dehydrated
  • A calorimeter can then be used to estimate the chemical energy stored within the dried plant sample
  • Apparatus

    • This is often referred to as a crucible
    • It needs to be able to withstand the temperatures inside the oven
    • It is open-topped to allow any moisture leaving the sample can escape and evaporate
  • Oven
  • To slowly dry the sample
  • Digital balance
  • For monitoring the mass of the plant sample as it dries out
  • Needs to have a high level of precision to detect small changes in the mass of the sample
  • Calorimeter
  • These can be simple and inexpensive or very precise, expensive pieces of apparatus known as bomb calorimeters
  • Method

    Finding the dry mass of a plant sample:

    • Weigh the crucible without the sample first
    • Place the sample in the crucible
    • Place the crucible in the oven
    • Set the oven to a low temperature
    • Remove and weigh the crucible at regular intervals during the drying process
    • Once the mass of the crucible stops decreasing and becomes constant, the sample is fully dehydrated
    • From this final constant mass, subtract the original mass of the crucible to find the dry mass of the sample

    Finding the energy released by a sample of plant biomass:

    A simple, inexpensive version of a calorimeter that can be set up using classroom equipment


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    What Is A Biomass Pyramid

    A biomass pyramid shows the flow of energy between various levels. Producers and consumers make up the biomass pyramid, which displays all their comparative masses at the same time. To create the biomass pyramid, the approximate masses are stacked up according to a well-established hierarchy.

  • The primary producers will lie at the bottom of the biomass pyramid. In this case, grasses, trees, flowers, and shrubs make up the needed fuel for the primary consumers that are up on the food chain.
  • The primary consumers are herbivores: squirrels, deer, insects, and birds that feed on trees and grasses.
  • In their turn, the primary consumers are food for the secondary consumers predators: frogs, carnivorous birds, and foxes.
  • Finally, the tertiary consumers predators sit at the top of the biomass pyramid. In this case, a bear closes the ;food chain.
  • How Does A Food Chain Work

    GCSE Science Revision Biology “Pyramids of Biomass” (Triple)

    Food chains simply keep tabs on who is eaten by whom within a given habitat. Whether we are talking about the desert or the marine environment, the same rules apply for all examples. Grass seeds feed a field mouse, which, in its turn, feeds an owl. The direction of the food chain also dictates the direction of the energy flow within the chain.

    All food chains have two common denominators:

    • The producers are almost invariably green plants.
    • The consumers receive their biomass and energy from the consumption of other organisms.

    The vast majority of food chains comprise up to four steps. The explanation behind this is that each step implies a loss of energy. As a result, a food chain made out of three steps will have little to no energy left for a fourth step. This also sheds some light on why the top of food chains is dominated only by a few organisms, in comparison to the lower levels that comprise more organisms.

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    What Is Ecological Pyramid And Types

    An ecological pyramid is a graphical representation of the relationship between the different living organisms at different trophic levels. It can be observed that these pyramids are in the shape of actual pyramids with the base being the broadest, which is covered by the lowest trophic level, i.e., producers.

    What Do You Know By Ecological Pyramids

    Ecological pyramid is a graphical representation in the form of a pyramid showing the feeding relationship of groups of organisms. Ecological pyramid also shows the flow of energy or biomass at each trophic level in a particular ecosystem. Biomass pertains to the amount of living or organic matter in an organism.

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    What Is A Biogas Plant

    The biogas plant consists of a dome-like structure. Organic material such as discarded food residue, fats, sludge, cow dung etc. are mixed with water and fed to the digester through the inlet as shown in the figure.

    The digester is a sealed chamber where anaerobic decomposition of organic matter takes place. After a few days, the organic matter completely decomposes to generate gases like methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide. These gases are then drawn through pipes from the storage tank above the digester and distributed through decentralization channels to nearby centres for use.

    The Biomass Produced By Bacteria

    Pyramid of biomass indicates A Biotic potential B Standing ...

    Bacteria are almost everywhere. They inhabit the cold north poles and they can also be found in hot springs of Mexico. They are the most common organisms in the world. This makes it undeniable that bacteria make huge biomass. For instance, there are more than fifty million bacteria in just 1ml of water obtained from a freshwater source and the same number of bacteria are present in soil weighing just one gram. The seabed is also rich with bacterial biomass. Bacteria make up to 300 billion tons of C in the ocean, and in the terrestrial environment, it takes approximately 20 tons of carbon as biomass.

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    What Is Pyramid In Biology

    What is Pyramid in biology? An ecological pyramid is a graphical representation of the relationship between different organisms in an ecosystem. Each of the bars that make up the pyramid represents a different trophic level, and their order, which is based on who eats whom, represents the flow of energy.

    What are the 3 types of pyramids?;Three Types of Ecological Pyramids: Number, Biomass, & Energy.

    What is pyramid short answer?;1 : a large structure built especially in ancient Egypt that usually has a square base and four triangular sides meeting at a point and that contains tombs. 2 : a shape or structure with a polygon for its base and three or more triangles for its sides which meet to form the top. pyramid. noun.

    What is pyramid explain?;pyramid, in architecture, a monumental structure constructed of or faced with stone or brick and having a rectangular base and four sloping triangular sides meeting at an apex .

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