Autotroph

From Academic Kids

An autotroph (in Greek eauton = self and trophe = nutrition) is an organism that produces organic compounds from carbon dioxide as a carbon source, using either light or reactions of inorganic chemical compounds as a source of energy. Plants and other organisms using photosynthesis are photolithoautotrophs; bacteria that utilize the oxidation of inorganic compounds such as hydrogen sulfide or ferrous iron as an energy source are chemolithoautotrophs.

Autotrophs are a vital part of a food chain. They take energy from the sun or from inorganic sources and convert it into a form (organic molecules) that they use to carry out biological functions including cell growth, and that other organisms (called heterotrophs) utilize as food. Thus, heterotrophs — animals, fungi, as well as most bacteria and protozoa — depend on autotrophs for energy and for the raw materials to make complex organic molecules. Heterotrophs obtain energy by breaking down organic molecules obtained in their food. Carnivorous animals ultimately rely on autotrophs because the energy and organic building blocks obtained from their prey comes from autotrophs eaten by the prey.

See also

de:Autotrophie es:Nutricin auttrofa eo:Aŭtotrofo fr:Autotrophe gl:Auttrofo it:Autotrofi nl:Autotroof sv:Autotrof

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