-biosis Also -biont and -biotic.
A mode of life.
[Greek biōsis, mode of life.]
Terms in -biosis include symbiosis (Greek sun, with), interaction between two organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both (outside science, it can have the sense of a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups); cryptobiosis (Greek kruptos, hidden), a physiological state in which metabolic activity is reduced to an undetectable level without disappearing altogether; necrobiosis (Greek nekros, corpse), gradual degeneration and death of cells in the body tissues.
The form -biont indicates an individual organism living in this way: symbiont (from symbiosis); mycobiont (Greek mukēs, fungus, mushroom) and phycobiont (Greek phukos, seaweed, hence alga), respectively the fungal and algal components of a lichen. See also -ont.
Words in -biotic are adjectives and nouns (deriving from Greek biōtikos, fit for life), either relating to a mode of living described by a word in -biosis (cryptobiotic, symbiotic), or to a way of acting on living things: antibiotic, a medicine that inhibits the growth of or destroys micro-organisms; xenobiotic (Greek xenos, stranger, foreigner), of a substance, typically a synthetic chemical, that is foreign to the body or to an ecological system.