What are the Differences Between Autotrophic Nutrition and Heterotrophic Nutrition?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The Differences Between Autotrophic Nutrition and Heterotrophic Nutrition is that autotrophs make their own food while Heterotrophs depend on autotrophs. Heterotrophs are living things that cannot make their own food and rely on autotrophs for nutrition, whereas autotrophs perform photosynthesis to make their own food. They differ in the way how organisms obtain nutrition.

Differences between Autotrophic Nutrition and Heterotrophic Nutrition

The detailed Difference Between Autotrophic Nutrition and Heterotrophic Nutrition are shown in the following table:

Heterotrophic Nutrition Autotrophic Nutrition
Food is obtained by digesting organic compounds. Food is prepared using substances available in the immediate surroundings.
Organisms that rely on heterotrophic nutrition are called Heterotrophs. Organisms that rely on autotrophic nutrition are called Autotrophs.
The four types of heterotrophic nutrition are Holozoic, parasitic, symbiotic association, and saprophytic. The two types of autotrophic nutrition are Phototrophic and Chemotrophic.
They are incapable of making food from available inorganic substances. The organisms use simple substances like carbon dioxide, chlorophyll, water, and water to prepare food.
Plants and animals can both be heterotrophs. Only plants are autotrophs.
The consumers in the food chain are Heterotrophs. The producers in the food chain are Autotrophs.
Heterotrophs may consume autotrophs to survive. Autotrophs process energy from the environment to sustain.

Autotrophic Nutrition vs Heterotrophic Nutrition

Autotrophs are known as producers because they produce their own food. On the other hand, Heterotrophs are referred to as consumers because they rely on outside sources for their food.

Autotrophs are organisms (often plants) that obtain their food by processing complex compounds in the environment. On the other hand, heterotrophs rely on organic compounds (plants, animals) for survival.

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