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Heterotrophs cannot synthesise their own nutrients.
They depend on other sources for the supply of nutrients including those
required for energy production. Most of the bacteria, all fungi and all animals are
might have seen packets of mushrooms sold in the vegetable
You may have also seen fluffy umbrella-like patches growing on rotting wood
during the rainy season. Let us find out what type of nutrients they need to
survive and from where they get them.
organisms are called fungi.They have a different mode of nutrition. They
secrete digestive juices on the dead and decaying matter and convert it into a
solution. Then they absorb the nutrients from it.
fungal spores are generally present in the air. When they land on wet
and warm things they germinate and grow. Now, can you figure out how we can
protect our things from getting spoiled?
organisms live together and share shelter and nutrients. This is called
symbiotic relationship. For example, certain fungi live in the roots of
trees. The tree provides nutrients to the fungus and, in return, receives help from
it to take up water and nutrients from the soil. This association is very important
for the tree.
Some of the bacteria and of fungi depend on other dead organisms to obtain nutrients. Those which live on other organisms, decompose and degrade the complex molecules present in these organisms to simple molecules.
Bacteria and fungi absorb these molecules through their body surface. These are called saprophytes. In this process, they add several valuable nutrients to the medium in which they live(water or soil).
OMNIVORES: All the animals are heterotrophic in their
nutrition. They cannot synthesise their own food material. Hence, they consume other organisms such as plants,
animals and microorganisms.
Size and nature of food consumed is different in
They may consume either small microscopic or large plants or animals or both. Animals consuming plants as food are called herbivores. Those consuming other animals are called carnivores. Those which consume both animals and plants are called omnivores. Interestingly, some plants are also carnivorous especially insectivorous (feed on insects). They supplement their autotrophic nutrition by obtaining nitrogen rich nutrients from the insects.
Nepenthes, Dionea (Venus fly trap), Drosera (sun dew plant) and Utricularia ( bladder wort) are some of the examples for this type of plants. All these plants are autotrophic and can live by themselves without feeding on insects. However, their growth is stimulated when they feed on insects.