Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -lysis

Kidney Dialysis
This woman is undergoing kidney dialysis to separate and remove waste and excess water from the blood. Credit: Science Photo Library/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -lysis


The suffix (-lysis) refers to decomposition, dissolution, destruction, loosening, breaking down, separation, or disintegration.


Analysis (ana-lysis) - method of study involving the separation of material into its constituent parts.

Autolysis (auto-lysis) - the self-destruction of tissue typically due to the production of certain enzymes within cells.

Bacteriolysis (bacterio-lysis) - the destruction of bacterial cells.

Biolysis (bio-lysis) - the death of an organism or tissue by dissolution. Biolysis also refers to the decomposition of living material by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

Catalysis (cata-lysis) - the action of a catalyst to accelerate a chemical reaction.

Chemolysis (chemo-lysis) - decomposition of organic substances through the use of chemical agents.

Chromatolysis (chromat-o-lysis) - the dissolution or destruction of chromatin.

Cytolysis (cyto-lysis) - the dissolution of cells by the destruction of the cell membrane.

Dialysis (dia-lysis) - the separation of smaller molecules from larger molecules in a solution by the selective diffusion of substances across a semi-permeable membrane. Dialysis is also a medical procedure done to separate metabolic waste, toxins and excess water from the blood.

Electrodialysis (electro-dia-lysis) - the dialysis of ions from one solution to another through the use of an electric current.

Electrolysis (electro-lysis) - method of destroying tissue, such as hair roots, by the use of an electrical current. It also refers to a chemical change, specifically decomposition, that is caused by an electric current.

Fibrinolysis (fibrin-o-lysis) - natural occurring process involving the break down of fibrin in blood clots through enzyme activity. Fibrin is a protein that forms a network to trap red blood cells and platelets.

Glycolysis (glyco-lysis) - process in cellular respiration that results in the break down of sugar in the form of glucose for the harvesting of energy in the form of ATP.

Hemolysis (hemo-lysis) - destruction of red blood cells as a result of cell rupture.

Heterolysis (hetero-lysis) - the dissolution or destruction of cells from one species by the lytic agent from a different species.

Histolysis (histo-lysis) - the break down or destruction of tissues.

Homolysis (homo-lysis) - the dissolution of a molecule or cell into two equal parts, such as the formation of daughter cells in mitosis.

Hydrolysis (hydro-lysis) - the decomposition of compounds or biological polymers into smaller molecules by a chemical reaction with water.

Paralysis (para-lysis) - the loss of voluntary muscle movement, function and sensation that causes the muscles to become loose or flaccid.

Photolysis (photo-lysis) - decomposition caused by light energy. Photolysis plays a crucial role in photosynthesis by splitting water to produce oxygen and high energy molecules which are used to synthesize sugar.

Plasmolysis (plasmo-lysis) - shrinkage that typically occurs in the cytoplasm of plant cells due to the flow of water outside of the cell by osmosis.

Pyrolysis (pyro-lysis) - the decomposition of chemical compounds due to exposure to high temperatures.

Radiolysis (radio-lysis) - the decomposition of chemical compounds due to exposure to radiation.