Share this entry
heterotroph Line breaks: het¦ero|troph
Pronunciation: /ˈhɛt(ə)rə(ʊ)trəʊf/

Definition of heterotroph in English:


An organism deriving its nutritional requirements from complex organic substances. Compare with autotroph.
Example sentences
  • This photosynthetic control of cell-cycle progression is similar to the nutritional control of heterotrophs.
  • Classified by the source of their energy, bacteria fall into two categories: heterotrophs and autotrophs.
  • Animals, on the other hand, are heterotrophs, life forms that depend on the consumption of plants, animals or both in order to meet their bioenergetic requirements.


Example sentences
  • They commonly occur as free-living, photosynthetic and marine unicells and also include endosymbiotic, parasitic, heterotrophic and freshwater taxa.
  • Overall, the results stress the importance of both heterotrophic and phototrophic metabolisms when considering environmental controls on the structure of bacterial communities in the sea.
  • In this case, changes in photosynthetic activity enable comparisons to be made between mitochondria in autotrophic and heterotrophic tissue.
Example sentences
  • If detached leaves were fed glucose, inducing a rapid switch from autotrophy to heterotrophy, then they were seen to exhibit GPT activity.
  • After greening and probable transition from heterotrophy to autotrophy, root growth rate was enhanced and growth followed a linear pattern.
  • Based on polyp size, corallite structure, and surface area considerations, M. faveolata appears to depend on photoautotrophy versus heterotrophy to a greater extent than its congener, M. cavernosa.


Early 20th century: from hetero- 'other' + Greek trophos 'feeder'.

Definition of heterotroph in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources