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Related to autotroph: heterotroph


 (ô′tə-trŏf′, -trōf′)
An organism capable of synthesizing its own food from inorganic substances, using light or chemical energy. Green plants, algae, and certain bacteria are autotrophs.

au′to·troph′ic adj.
au′to·troph′i·cal·ly adv.
au·tot′ro·phy (ô-tŏt′rə-fē) n.


(ˈɔ təˌtrɒf, -ˌtroʊf)

any organism capable of self-nourishment by using inorganic materials as a source of nutrients and using photosynthesis or chemosynthesis as a source of energy, as most plants and certain bacteria and protists. Compare heterotroph.
[1935–40; see auto-, troph]
au`to•troph′ic, adj.


Organism (e.g. plant) that can make its own food from simple inorganic molecules.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.autotroph - plant capable of synthesizing its own food from simple organic substancesautotroph - plant capable of synthesizing its own food from simple organic substances
plant life, flora, plant - (botany) a living organism lacking the power of locomotion
References in periodicals archive ?
Autotroph biomass was lower and extinction higher in microcosms with higher F.
Autotroph elemental composition appears to be regulated by similar physiological processes in algae and terrestrial plants (Agren 1988).
For all the relevant organisms examined, a comparative analysis revealed a consensus in the linear progression of compounds by stepwise synthesis for each type of monomer; this consensus enabled us to construct a minimal metabolic chart for an autotroph (see Supplemental Figure 1 at http://www.
The organism Desulfobacter hydrogenophilus can operate as either an oxidative heterotroph, requiring organic substrates, or a reductive autotroph (Moller et al.
The core ecosystem consisted of a single species of autotroph (the green, unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) and bacterial decomposers consisting of three known species (see media preparation above).
The importance of autotroph distribution to mussel growth in a well-mixed, temperate estuary.
If the mixotroph has a higher affinity than the autotroph for mineral nutrients, the autotroph cannot compete in the system; more interesting, therefore, is the situation where mixotrophs are assumed to have the lowest affinity for mineral nutrients:
However, for species belonging to food chains with the same autotroph base, the [Delta]15N will still reveal differences in trophic position.
a novel marine facultative autotroph and the putative symbiont of Thasira flexuosa.
The following variables were considered: system type (freshwater, marine, or terrestrial), species richness, the number of food chain paths (FCPs), mean food chain length (MFCL), the relative proportion of endotherms at the herbivore level, maximum food chain length (FCL), connectance, linkage density, average diet breadth, average prey vulnerability, average body size at the autotroph, herbivore and apex predator positions, and the difference between predator-prey body size at the herbivore and apex predator positions.
These tests expose Salmonella typhimurium strains that are histidine heterotrophs to the substance in question and assay for histidine autotroph mutants.
The kinetic expressions involved in this stage are given by the equation that interrelates cell growth and the elimination of ammonium, in function of the growth of autotroph organisms through the Monod equation (Gil, 1998; Ferrer, 2008; Metcalf & Eddy, 2003; Crites, 2000; Orozco, 2005 and EPA, 1975), both in the nitrosomonas phase and in the nitrobacter, as follows.