autotroph

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autotroph

(ôt`ətrōf'), in biology, an organism capable of synthesizing its own organic substances from inorganic compounds. Autotrophs produce their own sugars, lipids, and amino acids using carbon dioxide as a source of carbon, and ammonia or nitrates as a source of nitrogen. Organisms that use light for the energy to synthesize organic compounds are called photosynthetic autotrophs; organisms that oxidize such compounds as hydrogen sulfide (H2S) to obtain energy are called chemosynthetic autotrophs, or chemotrophs. Photosynthetic autotrophs include the green plants, certain algae, and the pigmented sulfur bacteria (see photosynthesisphotosynthesis
, process in which green plants, algae, and cyanobacteria utilize the energy of sunlight to manufacture carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of chlorophyll. Some of the plants that lack chlorophyll, e.g.
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). Chemotrophs include the iron bacteria, the nitrifying bacteria, and the nonpigmented sulfur bacteria (see chemosynthesischemosynthesis,
process in which carbohydrates are manufactured from carbon dioxide and water using chemical nutrients as the energy source, rather than the sunlight used for energy in photosynthesis. Much life on earth is fueled directly or indirectly by sunlight.
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). Heterotrophsheterotroph
, living organism that obtains its energy from carbohydrates and other organic material. All animals and most bacteria and fungi are heterotrophic. In contrast, autotrophs are organisms that use inorganic substances as energy sources and carbon dioxide as a carbon source.
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 are organisms that must obtain their energy from organic compounds.

autotroph

[′ȯd·ō‚träf]
(biology)
An organism capable of synthesizing organic nutrients directly from simple inorganic substances, such as carbon dioxide and inorganic nitrogen.
References in periodicals archive ?
thermophila is not only producing C[H.sub.4] from C[O.sub.2] and [H.sub.2] but is also generating biomass autotrophically. As the specific growth morphology of the Methanosarcinales prevented the direct quantification of the cell number, the production of biomass, although at a low level, was determined by quantifying the DNA content in the culture fluid (Figure 2).
Once the protocorm has grown to a sufficient size, it produces shoots and subsequently starts to grow autotrophically. In orchids that produce green leaves, the first leaves begin to photosynthesize.
Furthermore, they are extremely metabolically diverse and can obtain energy from a wide array of sources, both autotrophically and heterotrophically.
veneficum strains CCMP 1974, CCMP 2064, and MD5, were maintained autotrophically at a salinity of 15, 20[degrees]C, in f/2 medium (Guillard 1975) at 75-[micro]mol photons [m.sup.-2] [d.sup.-1] under 12L:12D cool white fluorescent lighting.