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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.


(ˈhɛt ər əˌtrɒf, -ˌtroʊf)

an organism requiring organic compounds for its principal source of food. Compare autotroph.
het`er•o•troph′ic, adj.


An organism that obtains food by feeding on other organisms, e.g. animals, fungi.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.heterotroph - an organism that depends on complex organic substances for nutrition
organism, being - a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently
References in periodicals archive ?
Furthermore, they are extremely metabolically diverse and can obtain energy from a wide array of sources, both autotrophically and heterotrophically.
In this study, the results of growth experiments are reported with juvenile Manila clams, Tapes philippinarum, fed on a heterotrophically grown, spray-dried, Schizochytrium-based product (SZ; Docosa Gold, Sanders Brine Shrimp) or a spray-dried, Haematococcus pluvialis-based product (H; Sanders Brine Shrimp) either alone or as supplements for rations of living algae.
Some species may also grow heterotrophically in darkness (Harder, 1970).