What are the differences between Autotrophic and Heterotrophic nutrition?

differences between Autotrophic and Heterotrophic nutrition



Autotrophic nutrition

Heterotrophic nutrition


Autotrophic nutrition is that mode of nutrition in which an organism makes its own food . Heterotrophic nutrition is that mode of nutrition in which an organism cannot make its own food.


The organisms which get the nutrition by autotrophic nutrition are called as autotrophs The organisms which get their nutrition by heterotrophic mode of nutrition are called heterotrophs.


This process is absent in autotrophic nutrition. The process of digestion is required for the conversion of complex molecules into simpler and more soluble once

Carbon source required

Use inorganic carbon as their source of carbon Use organic carbon as their source of carbon

Raw materials required

Raw materials such as inorganic materials like carbon dioxide and water is required to make their own food Raw materials are not required in heterotrophic mode of nutrition. It depends on other organisms for its food.


Chlorophyll is present in autotrophs for trapping light. Chlorophyll is absent in heterotrophs.


They are known as producers They are known as consumers

Position in food chain

Position of of autotrophs in food chain is primary producers Position of heterotrophs in food chain is secondary or tertiary level

External energy source

In autotrophic mode of nutrition external source of energy like sunlight is required In heterotrophic mode of nutrition external energy source is not required.


Examples mainly include plants algae and cyanobacteria Examples mainly include animals some plants fungi and bacteria
Autotrophs and Heterotrophs in Food chain


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