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 (hĕt′ər-ə-trŏf′, -trōf′)
An organism that is dependent on complex organic substances for nutrition because it cannot synthesize its own food.

het′er·o·troph′ic adj.
het′er·o·troph′i·cal·ly adv.
het′er·ot′ro·phy (-ə-rŏt′rə-fē) n.


(Biology) (of organisms, such as animals) obtaining carbon for growth and energy from complex organic compounds. Compare autotrophic
[C20: from hetero- + Greek trophikos concerning food, from trophē nourishment]
ˈheteroˌtroph n


Relating to an organism that cannot manufacture its own food and instead obtains its food and energy by taking in organic substances, usually plant or animal matter. All animals, protozoans, fungi, and most bacteria are heterotrophic. ♦ An organism that consumes organic matter or other organisms for food is called a heterotroph (hĕt′ər-ə-trŏf′). Compare autotrophic.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.heterotrophic - requiring organic compounds of carbon and nitrogen for nourishment; "most animals are heterotrophic"
phytology, botany - the branch of biology that studies plants
autophytic, autotrophic - of or relating to organisms (as green plants) that can make complex organic nutritive compounds from simple inorganic sources by photosynthesis
References in periodicals archive ?
He pointed out that they will also evaluate the pharmacological potentialities of metabolites extracted from microorganisms of marine ecosystems, as well as the biological diversity of heterotrophic bacteria, organic matter from other living beings that is transformed into nutrients and energy, isolated from sensitive coastal ecosystems of Cuba.
Likewise, in aquatic and terrestrial systems, not only autotrophic bacteria carry out the nitrification process; there are also other heterotrophic organisms that can do so, such as the Arthrobacter, Azotobacter gender, and bacterial species such as Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Aerobacter aerogenus, and fungi of Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Neurospora genders.
Findings from the first study revealed that SBS reduced heterotrophic bacteria by more than 85% and reduced Legionella bacteria by more than 78% in industrial cooling towers.
This association could be indirect through stimulation of the photosynthetic production which is then used by the heterotrophic component, mainly in the surface and subsurface layer, where aerobic conditions still prevail.
The high concentration of organics indicated that heterotrophic microbes were found in granular sludge as the dominant bacterial community.
some heterotrophic microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi ofvarious species are also found.
10,11) Determination of the numbers and types of bacteria [including heterotrophic plate count bacteria (HPCs) and fecal indicators such as total coliforms and Escherichia coli] that occur on the variety of surface types present in the dental setting will provide useful information as to the general areas that might also serve as reservoirs for pathogenic microorganisms.
In this study, quantity and richness of culturable heterotrophic bacteria (CHB) in seawater of the farming environment and guts of the oyster Crassostrea hongkongensis were determined monthly, with classical, biochemical, and molecular methods.
Their topics include algal growth kinetics and productivity, estimating the maximum achievable productivity in outdoor ponds: microalgae biomass growth modeling and climate-simulated culturing, molecular diagnostic solutions in algal cultivation systems, the supply of carbon dioxide to closed and open photo-bioreactors, and the heterotrophic culturing of microalgae.
and heterotrophic plate count bacteria from water used in dental water lines.
In-situ field measurements of gas emission rates capture realistic conditions and capture both heterotrophic and autotrophic emissions.