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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


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.
The American Heritage® Student Science Dictionary, Second Edition. Copyright © 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Wang, "Simultaneous heterotrophic nitrification and aerobic denitrification at high initial phenol concentration by isolated bacterium Diaphorobacter sp.
It is also observed that in the Biological community in an ore leaching process in addition to autotrophic bacteria (Acidithiobacillus spp., Leptospirillum ferrooxidans and Sulfolobus spp.) some heterotrophic microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi ofvarious species are also found.
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.
Relationships between phytoplankton and heterotrophic bacteria like Rpom are complex and inextricably linked.
The production in biofloc system without water renewal, known as ZEAH system (Zero Exchange Aerated Heterotrophic culture system), is able to work with high productivity rates and utilizes a renewal of low or no water, reducing the risk of contamination both of cultivated
Some studies have reported the presence of heterotrophic mucosa like gastric or pancreatic akin to duplication of bowel or Meckel's diverticulum.(1,6,7) In our patient the dilatation was saccular, with a single cavity with proximal bowel entering and distal bowel exiting.
The samples were analyzed for heterotrophic and coliform bacteria in Plate Count Agar and Violet Red Bile agar (Scharlau, Spain), Gram-positive cocci in Baird-Parker (Merk, Germany), bacilli in Starch Media supplemented with polymyxin B (Oxoid, England), and Pseudomonas spp.
Organic fertilizers are applied mainly to stimulate the heterotrophic food chain of aquaculture ponds.