Meaning of heterotroph in English:


Pronunciation /ˈhɛt(ə)rə(ʊ)trəʊf/ /hɛt(ə)rə(ʊ)ˈtrɒf/


  • An organism deriving its nutritional requirements from complex organic substances.

    Compare with autotroph

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Unlike plants, animals are heterotrophs which means they are unable to live on inorganic nutrients alone.’
    • ‘The result, especially when heterotrophs are preyed upon by other heterotrophs, is a food chain.’


Early 20th century from hetero- ‘other’ + Greek trophos ‘feeder’.