Anaerobic organism

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noun, plural: anaerobic organisms

An organism that does not require oxygen for growth and metabolism.


Anaerobic organisms may be an obligate anaerobe or facultative anaerobe. When exposed to atmospheric levels of oxygen, obligate anaerobes die. In contrast, facultative anaerobes can live in the presence of oxygen since they are can switch from anaerobic to aerobic respiration when oxygen is present.

Synonym: anaerobe.

Compare: aerobe.