Q:

How do heterotrophs obtain energy?

A:

Quick Answer

Heterotrophs are organisms that obtain energy by feeding off of other organisms, because they are unable to make their own food. They are also called consumers.

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All living organisms require nutrients and energy to survive and can obtain these in two broad ways. Organisms that can produce their own nutrients are called autotrophs, while the organisms that cannot produce their own food are called heterotrophs. Autotrophs include plants, bacteria and fungi. Most of the autotrophs produce carbohydrate nutrients through a process known as photosynthesis.

Heterotrophs include all types of organisms, such as animals, fungi, bacteria and protists. There are four types of heterotrophs, classified based on their source of food. Herbivores consume only plants and are called primary consumers, since they directly obtain nutrients from the autotrophs. Carnivores consume other animals, including herbivores, thereby getting the nutrients indirectly from the autotrophs. Carnivores are called secondary consumers if they eat herbivores and tertiary consumers if they eat other carnivorous organisms.

Omnivores consume both plants and animals and can be considered as primary, secondary and tertiary consumers, depending on their diet. For example, humans not only consume plants in the form of vegetables and fruits, but also meat from various sources. Detritivores are heterotrophs that consume dead organic matter and can include bacteria, fungi, insects and worms.

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Related Questions

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    How does bacteria obtain energy?

    A:

    Bacteria obtain energy by either ingesting other organisms and organic compounds or by producing their own food. The bacteria that produce their own food are called autotrophs. Bacteria that must consume other organic molecules for energy are called heterotrophs.

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    How do protists get energy?

    A:

    Some protists produce their own food through photosynthesis, while others obtain energy by consuming particles of organic substances, viruses and bacteria. Some protists have the unique ability to obtain nutrition using both processes; when sunlight is plentiful, they use the autotrophic method of nutrient acquisition (photosynthesis) and feed off organic materials in dark or low light conditions.

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    What is the mode of nutrition in fungi?

    A:

    Fungi are heterotrophs, meaning that they fulfill their needs for carbon and energy by breaking down and assimilating organic matter. Fungi are capable of absorbing and metabolizing a wide variety of carbohydrates, including glucose, xylose and fructose. More difficult carbohydrates are also easily digested, such as cellulose and hemicellulose.

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    What are colonial organisms?

    A:

    Colonial organisms are actually groups of individual organisms with a close, dependent relationship with other organisms in the colony, often with each member having a very specific specialization that makes them incapable of surviving alone. The individual members can be multicellular organisms or single-celled organisms.

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