Heterotrophic Nutrition

Last Updated: January 13, 2017

Definition - What does Heterotrophic Nutrition mean?

Heterotrophic plants do not have the capacity to produce enough food to sustain them. Consequently, heterotrophic nutrition refers to acquiring complex, already-made food. These types of plant food provide energy and molecules and atoms that will help the plant repair or build new protoplasm. Heterotrophic nutrition also offers vitamins, co-enzymes and ions that are crucial for the plant’s chemical processes.

MaximumYield explains Heterotrophic Nutrition

There are four main types of heterotrophic nutrition:

  1. Insectivorous - insect eating
  2. Symbiotic - cooperate with another organism for their mutual benefit
  3. Parasitic - live on another organism
  4. Saprophytic - decomposers

Heterotrophic plants are sometimes non-green in color, and depend on other sources of food because they lack sufficient amounts of chlorophyll to naturally produce their own food via photosynthesis, or because they live in nutrient-poor soil.

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