Difference between revisions of "Heterotroph"

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Latest revision as of 15:35, 21 May 2008

File:Troph flowchart.svg
Flowchart to determine if a species is autotroph, heterotroph, or a subtype

A heterotroph, or chemoorganotrophy (Greek heterone = (an)other and trophe = nutrition), is an organism that requires organic substrates to get its carbon for growth and development.

A heterotroph is known as a consumer in the chain. Contrast with autotrophs which use inorganic carbon dioxide or bicarbonate as sole carbon source. All animals are heterotrophic, as well as fungi and many bacteria. Some parasitic plants have also turned fully or partially heterotrophic, whereas carnivorous plants use their flesh diet to augment their nitrogen supply, but are still autotrophic.

Heterotrophs are unable to synthesize organic carbon-based compounds independently from the inorganic environment's sources (e.g. Animalia, unlike Plantae, cannot photosynthesize) and therefore must obtain their nutrition from another heterotroph or an autotroph.

For a species to be termed a heterotroph, it must obtain its carbon from organic compounds. If it obtains nitrogen from organic compounds, but not energy, it will be deemed an autotroph. If a species obtains carbon from organic compounds then there are two possible subtypes of these heterotrophs:

In simpler terminology, a heterotroph is an organism that is incapable of making its own food from light or inorganic compounds, and feeds on organisms or the remains of other organisms to get its necessary energy to survive.

See also

ca:Heterotròfia cs:Heterotrofie da:Heterotrof de:Heterotrophie et:Heterotroof eo:Heterotrofo eu:Heterotrofo hr:Heterotrofni organizmi id:Heterotrof ia:Heterotropho is:Ófrumbjarga lífvera it:Eterotrofia he:הטרוטרוף lt:Heterotrofai nl:Heterotroof no:Heterotrofi nn:Heterotrofi simple:Heterotroph sk:Heterotrofia sl:Heterotrof fi:Toisenvaraisuus sv:Heterotrofi th:เฮเทโรทรอพ tg:Ҳетеротроф uk:Гетеротрофи vec:Eterotrofìa