Difference between Autotrophic and Heterotrophic Organisms

Not all living things experience the processes of feeding and nutrition in the same way. Each link in the food chain has specific needs that are different from the one before or the next. According to the way in which organisms obtain the carbon necessary to exist, they are divided into autotrophs and heterotrophs.

Comparison chart

autotrophic organisms
heterotrophic organisms
What are they? The word autotroph comes from the Greek autos , own and trophe , food or nutrition. Autotrophic nutrition is that form of feeding of some organisms in which they are capable of producing their own food from inorganic compounds. They do this by fixing carbon obtained from CO 2 in the air or in the water. Autotrophic organisms are the first link in the food chain. For the same reason, they are a very important part of it, since the other links depend totally on them. On the other hand, heterotrophic organisms (hetero, different and trophe, food) are not capable of producing their own food. This type of nutrition depends entirely on the consumption of other organisms. Heterotrophic organisms transform the organic matter they consume into nutrients and energy that they use for their development. The next steps in the food chain after the first will always be made up of heterotrophic organisms.
Types Autotrophic nutrition can be divided into the following categories depending on the way in which they fix the carbon obtained: 

  • Photosynthetic. Some organisms such as plants take advantage of sunlight as energy to fix nutrients.
  • Chemosynthetics. Other autotrophic organisms oxidize inorganic compounds to produce energy.
As for heterotrophic nutrition, it is divided into: 

  • Holozoic nutrition. Organisms that take advantage of all of their food.
  • Saprotrophic nutrition. Organisms that feed on the organic remains (dead) of other living things.
  • Parasitic nutrition.
  • And symbiotic nutrition.
examples Most plants, some bacteria, some algae, etc. Some plants (such as carnivorous plants), all animals, protozoa, fungi, most bacteria, among others.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button