What is an Autotrophic Organism?

KOMPAS.com – An organism is said to be autotrophic if it can produce its own food using light, water, carbon dioxide, or other chemicals.

Since autotrophic organisms produce their own food, in the food chain they are referred to as producers.

Reported from National Geographic, plants are the best known type of autotrophs, but there are many other types of autotrophic organisms.

For example, algae, which live in water and whose larger forms are known as seaweeds are autotrophic organisms.

Then, phytoplankton, small organisms that live in the sea, and several types of bacteria are also autotrophic organisms.

Also read: Getting to know Foraminifera, Small Organisms in the Sea that Record Earth’s Temperature Changes

The way autotrophic organisms produce food

Most autotrophic organisms use the process of photosynthesis to produce their food.

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During photosynthesis, autotrophs use energy from the Sun to convert water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air into glucose.

Glucose is a type of sugar that provides energy for plants. Glucose is also used by plants to make cellulose, a substance used to grow and form cell walls.

Some rare autotrophic organisms produce food through the process of chemosynthesis, not photosynthesis.

With chemosynthesis, autotrophic organisms make food using energy from chemical reactions, often combining hydrogen sulfide or methane with oxygen.

Also read: Autotrophs and Heterotrophs as Biotic Components

Typically, autotrophic organisms that use chemosynthesis to produce food live in extreme places where toxic chemicals are found.

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For example, bacteria that live in active volcanoes oxidize sulfur to produce their own food.

Bacteria that live in the deep ocean, near hydrothermal vents, also produce food through chemosynthesis.

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