Meaning of Autotrophic Nutrition

What is Autotrophic Nutrition:

Autotrophic nutrition is that carried out by autotrophic organisms, which are characterized by having the ability to synthesize and generate the substances necessary for their metabolism and nourish themselves from inorganic substances.

The organisms that carry out autotrophic nutrition are plants, algae and some types of bacteria, whose sustenance are derived from water, mineral salts and carbon dioxide, so they do not need to feed on other living beings and are considered as producer organisms.

Therefore, the organisms that carry out autotrophic nutrition mainly take light as an energy source to carry out photosynthesis, as is the case with plants, which allows them to obtain organic substances such as chlorophyll.

The process of autotrophic nutrition begins when organisms absorb inorganic substances that they obtain from carbon dioxide from the air and water, which are transported and processed through a series of chemical reactions such as photosynthesis and gas exchange that, they transform inorganic substances into organic ones.

Once the organic substances are obtained, the autotrophic organisms use them for their metabolism and, finally, they discard the unnecessary substances.

In this sense, autotrophic nutrition allows organisms to produce their own food by making use of the inorganic substances they synthesize to obtain essential nutrients for their metabolisms and for the production of plant cell mass and matter.

For their part, unicellular organisms such as bacteria or algae, lacking specialized organs, take the necessary nutrients directly from the environment to carry out autotrophic nutrition.

Likewise, it should be noted that autotrophic organisms are essential in the food chain, since they are the primary producers and serve as food for heterotrophic organisms, which are those that feed on other living beings.

See also Autotrophic organisms.

Types of autotrophic nutrition

Below are the types of autotrophic nutrition.

  • Photoautotrophs: it is an autotrophic nutrition that obtains nutrients through the energy of light. That is, light generates the energy necessary to produce food through photosynthesis, as plants or algae do.
  • Chemoautotrophs: this autotrophic nutrition is carried out by those organisms that make use of the energy obtained from reduced chemical molecules to produce their food and do not need the energy of light. For example, sulfurous bacteria that live in active volcanoes or nitrifying bacteria.

See also:

  • Photosynthesis.
  • Cell types.

Heterotrophic nutrition

Heterotrophic nutrition is that carried out by those living beings that feed on other living beings to obtain energy to live such as human beings or consuming animals and decomposing organisms.

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