Nutrition is the process of eating food and converting it into energy and other necessary components. In general, living things receive one of two forms of nutrients, namely:
- Autotrophic mode - When an organism is in the autotrophic state, it may manufacture nourishment on its own using simple inorganic substances like water and carbon dioxide while exposed to light and chlorophyll. In other terms, photosynthesis is the process through which light energy is converted into food, such as glucose. Autotrophs are the name given to these organisms. A plant is an example of an organism that uses autotrophic nutrition. Other instances include bacteria and algae (cyanobacteria).
- Heterotrophic mode - An organism cannot produce food on its own. These species are dependent on external sources for their sustenance. Heterotrophs are organisms that cannot produce their own food, hence they must obtain it from other sources or organisms. This method of feeding is known as heterotrophic nutrition. Humans are an animal, while all other animals and fungi are heterotrophs. Heterotrophs come in a variety of forms based on their habitat and adaptations. Few humans eat both plants and animals, the majority of whom are herbivores or carnivores (omnivores). We can therefore draw the conclusion that plants contribute directly or indirectly to the survival of heterotrophs.
Nutrition is the process through which organisms eat food and use its nutrients. The two forms of nutrients obtained by living things are autotrophic mode and heterotrophic mode.