Chemoheterotroph Definition

It might surprise friend to learn this, but you space actually a chemoheterotroph!

“Chemoheterotroph” is the term because that an biology which beginning its energy from chemicals, and also needs come consume various other organisms in order to live. That way you: her body gets its power from food, and also you have to consume various other organisms such together plants and animals in order come survive.

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All organisms need to solve two difficulties in order to survive: they need to be maybe to obtain energy, and also they have to be may be to achieve cellular “building materials” such together proteins, lipids, and also carbohydrates.

Most organisms the consume organic material use it for both energy and building materials. Animals and fungi both, for example, acquire energy by breaking down our food, and also get the building materials because that our own cells native the food us eat.

A few rare organisms, however, use not natural chemicals for energy, and also yet cannot do their own building materials. These organisms – virtually always bacteria – call for both not natural chemical energy sources, and other organisms whose organic materials they deserve to consume, in order to survive.

All pets are chemoheterotrophs. So room fungi – although fungi may look prefer plants, castle don’t carry out photosynthesis, but rather have their power by breaking under organic material in soil.

Many bacteria are likewise chemoheterotrophs, including many bacteria that live within the human body, many contagious bacteria, and also some sulfur bacteria.

The chart listed below may be advantageous for determining whether a provided organism is a chemoheterotroph:


Function the Chemoheterotrophs

Chemoheterotrophs play a huge role in most ecosystems.

While “producers” at the bottom of one ecosystem’s power pyramid make energy and also organic products from scratch, the upper levels of the pyramid space usually chemoheterotrophs who feed top top those producers. Herbivores, carnivores, scavengers, and also decomposers room all chemoheterotrophs.

Chemoheterotrophs take materials from plants and chemoautotrophs and recycle castle in a facility web the life, where materials are supplied over and also over again.

Types that Chemoheterotrophs

Chemoorganoheterotrophs – Eaters of life Things

“Chemoorganoheterotroph” is a mouthful. However we’ve seen what “chemotroph” and “chemoheterotroph” mean.

“Chemoorganoheterotroph” simply adds the term “organo,” for “organic” molecules. Essential molecules space carbon-containing molecule such as proteins, lipids, sugars, etc. That space usually connected with life.

Chemoorganoheterotrophs, then, room eaters the organic molecules – and where carry out you discover organic molecules? within of life or dead organisms.

Chemoorganoheterotrophs, then, include herbivores, carnivores, scavengers, and decomposers. They incorporate all fungi and animals.

Chemolithoheterotrophs – rock Eaters

Just together “organo” is the Greek source word for organic materials, “litho” is the Greek native root because that “stone.”

Chemolithoheterotrophs room organisms the derive their power from not natural minerals or other geological processes. Food sources for chemolithotrophs can include elemental sulfur and elemental gas.

Chemolithoheterotrophs are typically bacteria. Because deriving power from inorganic minerals is not as effective is digesting sugars making use of cellular respiration, organisms that usage this energy source are generally tiny and simple.

Chemolithoheterotrophs have the right to be uncovered in places such as the sea floor or secret water sources, where both your chemical food sources and also organic materials are found.

They may attain their necessary compounds it is in feeding on other bacteria, or on dead product that settles in sea floors and river beds from various other organisms.

Examples of Chemoheterotrophs


It is basic to see just how humans room chemoheterotrophs! us eat food every day. That food is make from animals, plants, and also other organisms. We breakdown the organic chemicals from their cells to both attain our own energy, and building materials for our very own bodies.


Mushrooms and other fungi may look favor plants, yet they room actually much more like pets than like plants.

Fungi have their power from breaking down organic material. Frequently it’s organic material that is already dead, or is not well-defended by its host immune system.

Mushrooms can commonly be found cultivation in affluent soil – i beg your pardon is made rich by the failure of the body of dead plants and also animals – or on dead trees, old fruits, and also other resources of organic product that do not have an immune device to struggle the fungus off.

Some fungi have the right to even strike living animals and infect them regardless of the immune response, though these are reasonably rare. The Ophiocordyceps fungus, for example, attacks and also digests life insects. An extremely rarely – commonly in world whose immune systems space not healthy and solid – fungi deserve to even strike healthy humans and also cause dangerous infections.

Lithotrophic Bacteria

Almost all chemolithotrophs room autotrophs that do not need to consume other organisms to survive.

Likewise, practically all heterotrophs space organochemotrophs, biology which achieve energy and organic compounds indigenous the same source.

But a couple of species that bacteria the derive their power from minerals have likewise developed the capacity to usage organic products made by various other organisms instead of making your own.

A few may even have shed the capacity to do their very own organic materials, meaning that they now require the existence of other organisms as well as their mineral energy source in order to survive.

Related biology Terms

Chemotroph – any type of organism the obtains its energy from chemicals. This contains chemoautotrophs such as sulfur bacteria, and chemoheterotrophs such together animals and fungi. Energy pyramid – A diagram which reflects how energy flows with different varieties of organisms in ~ an ecosystem.


1. Which of the following root words is NOT uncovered in “chemoheterotroph?” A. “Chemo” for “chemical” B. “Hetero” for “other” C. “Troph” for “food” or “to eat” D. “Auto” because that “self”

D is correct. The term “chemohetetrotroph” contains terms explaining that these organisms obtain their energy and building materials from chemicals, and also that they depend on other organisms to provide these chemicals.

“Auto” is a root word uncovered in explanation of organisms that carry out NOT depend on others for energy or structure materials.

2. I m sorry of the complying with is not true that chemolithoheterotrophstrophs: A. They derive their power from not natural chemicals. B. They rely on various other organisms for organic materials. C. They settle the problems of obtaining energy and organic products separately. D. They acquire their energy and organic materials from the same source.

D is correct. While many chemoheterotrophs obtain their energy and organic materials from the same source, chemolithotrophs require one resource – inorganic chemicals – to achieve energy, and a different source – other organisms – to achieve organic materials.

3. I beg your pardon of the following is NOT an instance of a chemoheterotroph? A. A dog. B. A daisy. C. A sulfur bacteria the can’t do its own organic molecules. D.

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A mushroom.

B is correct. While every one of the other items top top this list are organisms the derive power from chemical sources and also which have to eat other organisms in order come survive, a daisy is a plant.

That means it can make both its own energy and its own organic products using simply carbon dioxide indigenous the atmosphere and light from the Sun!