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An autotroph or primary producer is an organism that produces complex
organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
s (such as
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
s,
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided ...

fat
s, and
protein Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a No ...

protein
s) using
carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a with the C and 6. It is lic and —making four s available to form s. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. Carbon makes up only about 0.025 percent of Earth's crust. Three occur naturally, ...

carbon
from simple substances such as
carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (chemical formula A chemical formula is a way of presenting information about the chemical proportions of s that constitute a particular or molecule, using symbols, numbers, and sometimes also other symbols, such as pare ...

carbon dioxide
,Morris, J. et al. (2019). "Biology: How Life Works", 3rd edition, W. H. Freeman. generally using energy from light (
photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ' ...

photosynthesis
) or inorganic chemical reactions (
chemosynthesis In biochemistry, chemosynthesis is the biological conversion of one or more carbon-containing molecules (usually carbon dioxide or methane) and nutrients into organic matter using the oxidation of inorganic compounds (e.g., hydrogen gas, hydroge ...
). They convert an
abiotic
abiotic
source of energy (e.g. light) into energy stored in
organic compounds In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
, which can be used by other organisms (e.g.
heterotrophs A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek "other" and "nutrition") is an organism that cannot produce its own food, instead taking nutrition from other sources of organic carbon, mainly plant or animal matter. In the food chain, heterotrophs are prim ...
). Autotrophs do not need a living source of carbon or energy and are the
producers Producer or producers may refer to: Occupations *Producer (agriculture), a farm operator *Film producer, oversees the making of films *A stakeholder of economic production *Executive producer, contributes to the film's budget and usually does not w ...
in a
food chain A food chain is a linear network of links in a food web A food web is the natural interconnection of food chains and a graphical representation of what-eats-what in an ecological community. Another name for food web is Consumer-resource sy ...

food chain
, such as
plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel ...

plant
s on land or
algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Co ...

algae
in water (in contrast to
heterotrophs A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek "other" and "nutrition") is an organism that cannot produce its own food, instead taking nutrition from other sources of organic carbon, mainly plant or animal matter. In the food chain, heterotrophs are prim ...
as consumers of autotrophs or other heterotrophs). Autotrophs can
reduce Reduce is a general-purpose computer algebra system geared towards applications in physics. The development of the Reduce computer algebra system was started in the 1960s by Anthony C. Hearn. Since then, many scientists from all over the world have ...

reduce
carbon dioxide to make organic compounds for biosynthesis and as stored chemical fuel. Most autotrophs use water as the
reducing agent A reducing agent (also called a reductant, reducer, or electron donor) is an element or compound that loses or "donates" an electron The electron is a subatomic particle (denoted by the symbol or ) whose electric charge is negative one ele ...
, but some can use other hydrogen compounds such as
hydrogen sulfide Hydrogen sulfide is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by havi ...

hydrogen sulfide
. The primary producers can convert the energy in the light (
phototroph Terrestrial and aquatic phototrophs: plants grow on a fallen log floating in algae-rich water Phototrophs ('' Gr'': φῶς, φωτός = light, τροϕή = nourishment) are organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ...
and
photoautotrophPhotoautotrophs are organisms that use light energy and inorganic carbon to produce organic materials. Eukaryotic photoautotrophs utilize absorb energy through the chlorophyll molecules in their chloroplasts while prokaryotic photoautotrophs use chlo ...
) or the energy in inorganic chemical compounds (
chemotrophs Chemotrophs are organisms that obtain energy In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, ...
or
chemolithotrophs Lithotrophs are a diverse group of organisms using an inorganic In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composi ...
) to build
organic molecules , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, catenate (form chains with other carbon ...
, which is usually accumulated in the form of
biomass Biomass is plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position ...

biomass
and will be used as carbon and energy source by other organisms (e.g.
heterotrophs A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek "other" and "nutrition") is an organism that cannot produce its own food, instead taking nutrition from other sources of organic carbon, mainly plant or animal matter. In the food chain, heterotrophs are prim ...
and mixotrophs). The photoautotrophs are the main primary producers, converting the energy of the light into chemical energy through
photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ' ...

photosynthesis
, ultimately building organic molecules from
carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (chemical formula A chemical formula is a way of presenting information about the chemical proportions of s that constitute a particular or molecule, using symbols, numbers, and sometimes also other symbols, such as pare ...

carbon dioxide
, an
inorganic In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they under ...
carbon source In biology, carbon source refers to the molecules used by an organism as the source of carbon for building its biomass. A carbon source can be an organic compound or an inorganic compound. Heterotrophs needs organic compounds as source of carbon an ...
. Examples of chemolithotrophs are some
archaea Archaea ( ; singular archaeon ) constitute a domain Domain may refer to: Mathematics *Domain of a function, the set of input values for which the (total) function is defined **Domain of definition of a partial function **Natural domain of a pa ...

archaea
and
bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typ ...

bacteria
(unicellular organisms) that produce
biomass Biomass is plant or animal material used as fuel to produce electricity Electricity is the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position ...

biomass
from the
oxidation Redox (reduction–oxidation, pronunciation: or ) is a type of chemical reaction A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the chemical transformation of one set of chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter ...

oxidation
of inorganic chemical compounds, these organisms are called
chemoautotroph Chemotrophs are organisms that obtain energy by the oxidation of electron donors in their environments. These molecules can be organic molecule, organic (chemoorganotrophs) or inorganic compound, inorganic (chemolithotrophs). The chemotroph design ...
s, and are frequently found in
hydrothermal vent A hydrothermal vent is a fissure A fissure is a long, narrow crack opening along the surface of the Earth. It is derived from the Latin word , which means 'cleft' or 'crack'. Fissures emerge in the Earth's crust, on ice sheets and glaciers, an ...
s in the deep ocean. Primary producers are at the lowest
trophic level The trophic level of an organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular int ...
, and are the reasons why Earth is sustainable for life to this day. Most chemoautotrophs are
lithotroph Lithotrophs are a diverse group of organisms using an inorganic In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their compos ...
s, using inorganic electron donors such as hydrogen sulfide,
hydrogen gas Hydrogen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

hydrogen gas
, elemental
sulfur Sulfur (in nontechnical British English: sulphur) is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: th ...

sulfur
,
ammonium The ammonium cation An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects t ...

ammonium
and
ferrous oxide Iron(II) oxide or ferrous oxide is the inorganic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition ...

ferrous oxide
as reducing agents and hydrogen sources for
biosynthesis Biosynthesis is a multi-step, enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts (biocatalysts). Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrate (chemistry), substrates, and ...

biosynthesis
and chemical energy release. Autotrophs use a portion of the
ATP ATP may refer to: Companies and organizations * Association of Tennis Professionals * American Technical Publishers * ', a Danish pension * Armenia Tree Project * Association for Transpersonal Psychology * ATP architects engineers office * ATP ...

ATP
produced during photosynthesis or the oxidation of chemical compounds to reduce NADP+ to NADPH to form organic compounds.


History

The term ''autotroph'' was coined by the German botanist
Albert Bernhard Frank Albert Bernhard Frank (January 17, 1839 in Dresden Dresden (, ; wen, label=Sorbian languages, Upper and Lower Sorbian, Drježdźany) is the capital city of the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony and its second most populous ci ...
in 1892. It stems from the ancient Greek word (), meaning "nourishment" or "food". The first autotrophic organism developed about 2 billion years ago. Photoautotrophs evolved from
heterotroph A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
ic bacteria by developing
photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ' ...

photosynthesis
. The earliest photosynthetic bacteria used
hydrogen sulphide Hydrogen sulfide is a chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by havi ...
. Due to the scarcity of hydrogen sulphide, some photosynthetic bacteria evolved to use water in photosynthesis, leading to
cyanobacteria Cyanobacteria (), also known as Cyanophyta, are a phylum In biology, a phylum (; plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical ...

cyanobacteria
.


Variants

Some organisms rely on
organic compound In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they undergo during ...
s as a source of
carbon Carbon (from la, carbo "coal") is a with the C and 6. It is lic and —making four s available to form s. It belongs to group 14 of the periodic table. Carbon makes up only about 0.025 percent of Earth's crust. Three occur naturally, ...

carbon
, but are able to use
light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visual perception, perceived by the human eye. Visible light is usually defined as having wavelengths in the range of 400–700 nan ...

light
or
inorganic compounds In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific discipline involved with Chemical element, elements and chemical compound, compounds composed of atoms, molecules and ions: their composition, structure, properties, behavior and the changes they under ...
as a source of energy. Such organisms are
mixotrophA mixotroph is an organism that can use a mix of different sources of energy and carbon, instead of having a single trophic mode on the continuum from complete autotrophy at one end to heterotrophy at the other. It is estimated that mixotrophs com ...
s. An organism that obtains carbon from organic compounds but obtains energy from light is called a ''
photoheterotrophPhotoheterotrophs ('' Gk'': ''photo'' = light, ''hetero'' = (an)other, ''troph'' = nourishment) are heterotrophic phototrophs – that is, they are organisms that use light for energy, but cannot use carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (chemical form ...
'', while an organism that obtains carbon from organic compounds and energy from the oxidation of inorganic compounds is termed a '' chemolithoheterotroph''. Evidence suggests that some fungi may also obtain energy from
ionizing radiation Ionizing radiation (or ionising radiation), including nuclear radiation, consists of s or s that have sufficient to s or s by detaching s from them. The particles generally travel at a speed that is greater than 1% of , and the electromagnetic w ...
: Such radiotrophic fungi were found growing inside a reactor of the
Chernobyl nuclear power plant #REDIRECT Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP), officially the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, is a closed nuclear power plant located near the abandoned city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine, northwes ...

Chernobyl nuclear power plant
.


Examples

There are many different types of primary producers out in the Earth's ecosystem at different states. Fungi and other organisms that gain their biomass from oxidizing organic materials are called
decomposer Decomposers are Organism, organisms that break down dead or decaying organisms; they carry out decomposition, a process possible by only certain kingdoms, such as fungi. Like herbivores and predators, decomposers are heterotrophic, meaning that t ...
s and are not primary producers. However,
lichen A lichen ( , ) is a composite organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecu ...

lichen
s located in tundra climates are an exceptional example of a primary producer that, by mutualistic symbiosis, combine photosynthesis by
algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Co ...

algae
(or additionally nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria) with the protection of a decomposer
fungus A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ...

fungus
. Also, plant-like primary producers (trees, algae) use the sun as a form of energy and put it into the air for other organisms. There are of course H2O primary producers, including a form of bacteria, and
phytoplankton Phytoplankton () are the autotrophic An autotroph or primary producer is an organism that produces complex organic compound , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compoun ...

phytoplankton
. As there are many examples of primary producers, two dominant types are coral and one of the many types of brown algae, kelp.


Photosynthesis

Gross primary production occurs by photosynthesis. This is also a main way that primary producers take energy and produce/release it somewhere else. Plants, coral, bacteria, and algae do this. Bacteria is a more recent find in the process of photosynthesis with primary producers, as they were just discovered in the soil. During photosynthesis, primary producers take energy from the sun and produce it into energy, sugar, and oxygen. Primary producers also need energy to convert this same energy elsewhere, so they get it from nutrients. One type of nutrient is nitrogen.


Ecology

Without primary producers, organisms that are capable of producing energy on their own, the Earth would be unable to sustain itself. Plants, along with other primary producers, produce the energy that beings consume, and the oxygen that they breathe. It is thought that the first organisms on Earth were primary producers located on the ocean floor. Autotrophs are fundamental to the food chains of all
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
s in the world. They take energy from the environment in the form of sunlight or inorganic chemicals and use it to create fuel molecules such as carbohydrates. This mechanism is called
primary production In ecology, primary production is the synthesis of organic compounds from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide. It principally occurs through the process of photosynthesis, which uses light as its source of energy, but it also occurs through ch ...
. Other organisms, called
heterotroph A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
s, take in autotrophs as
food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, protein (nutrient), proteins, vi ...

food
to carry out functions necessary for their life. Thus, heterotrophs – all
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

animal
s, almost all
fungi A fungus (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ...

fungi
, as well as most
bacteria Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are ubiquitous, mostly free-living organisms often consisting of one Cell (biology), biological cell. They constitute a large domain (biology), domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typ ...
and
protozoa Protozoa (singular protozoon or protozoan, plural protozoa or protozoans) is an informal term for a group of single-celled eukaryote Eukaryotes () are organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that ...

protozoa
– depend on autotrophs, or
primary producer Primary or primaries may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music Groups and labels * Primary (band) Primary were an Australian electronic rock band which formed in 1995 the Fonti brothers: Jamie on keyboards and Sean on bass guitar (b ...
s, for the raw materials and fuel they need.
Heterotrophs A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek "other" and "nutrition") is an organism that cannot produce its own food, instead taking nutrition from other sources of organic carbon, mainly plant or animal matter. In the food chain, heterotrophs are prim ...
obtain energy by breaking down carbohydrates or oxidizing organic molecules (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) obtained in food.Schmidt-Rohr, K. (2015). "Why Combustions Are Always Exothermic, Yielding About 418 kJ per Mole of O2", ''J. Chem. Educ.'' 92: 2094-2099. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00333
Carnivorous A carnivore , meaning "meat Meat is animal flesh that is eaten as food. Humans have hunted and killed animals for meat since prehistoric times. The advent of civilization allowed the domestication of animals such as chickens, sheep, rabbi ...
organisms rely on autotrophs indirectly, as the
nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, anything that has mass and t ...
s obtained from their heterotrophic prey come from autotrophs they have consumed. Most ecosystems are supported by the autotrophic
primary production In ecology, primary production is the synthesis of organic compounds from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide. It principally occurs through the process of photosynthesis, which uses light as its source of energy, but it also occurs through ch ...
of
plants Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Docto ...

plants
and
cyanobacteria Cyanobacteria (), also known as Cyanophyta, are a phylum In biology, a phylum (; plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical ...

cyanobacteria
that capture
photon The photon ( el, φῶς, phōs, light) is a type of elementary particle In , an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a that is not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundamental s ...

photon
s initially released by the
sun The Sun is the star A star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma (physics), plasma held together by its own gravity. The List of nearest stars and brown dwarfs, nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many othe ...

sun
. Plants can only use a fraction (approximately 1%) of this energy for
photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ' ...

photosynthesis
. The process of
photosynthesis Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ' ...

photosynthesis
splits a water molecule (H2O), releasing oxygen (O2) into the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide (CO2) to release the hydrogen atoms that fuel the
metabolic Metabolism (, from el, μεταβολή ''metabolē'', "change") is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. The three main purposes of metabolism are: the conversion of the energy in food to energy available to run cell ...

metabolic
process of
primary production In ecology, primary production is the synthesis of organic compounds from atmospheric or aqueous carbon dioxide. It principally occurs through the process of photosynthesis, which uses light as its source of energy, but it also occurs through ch ...
. Plants convert and store the energy of the photon into the chemical bonds of
simple sugars Monosaccharides (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...
during photosynthesis. These plant sugars are
polymerized In polymer chemistry, polymerization (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United State ...
for storage as long-chain
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
s, including other sugars, starch, and cellulose; glucose is also used to make
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided ...

fat
s and
protein Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a No ...

protein
s. When autotrophs are eaten by
heterotroph A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
s, i.e., consumers such as animals, the
carbohydrate A carbohydrate () is a biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a ...
s,
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and biology, biochemistry may be divided ...

fat
s, and
protein Proteins are large biomolecule , showing alpha helices, represented by ribbons. This poten was the first to have its suckture solved by X-ray crystallography by Max Perutz and Sir John Cowdery Kendrew in 1958, for which they received a No ...

protein
s contained in them become energy sources for the
heterotrophs A heterotroph (; from Ancient Greek "other" and "nutrition") is an organism that cannot produce its own food, instead taking nutrition from other sources of organic carbon, mainly plant or animal matter. In the food chain, heterotrophs are prim ...
. Proteins can be made using
nitrate Nitrate is a polyatomic ion A polyatomic ion, also known as a molecular ion, is a covalently bonded A covalent bond is a chemical bond A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atoms, ions or molecules that enables the format ...

nitrate
s,
sulfate The sulfate or sulphate ion is a polyatomic anion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having ...

sulfate
s, and
phosphate In chemistry, a phosphate is an anion, salt (chemistry), salt, functional group or ester derived from a phosphoric acids and phosphates, phosphoric acid. It most commonly means orthophosphate, a derivative of phosphoric acid, orthophosphoric a ...

phosphate
s in the soil.


Primary production in tropical streams and rivers

Aquatic algae are a significant contributor to food webs in tropical rivers and streams. This is displayed by net primary production, a fundamental ecological process that reflects the amount of carbon that is synthesized within an ecosystem. This carbon ultimately becomes available to consumers. Net primary production displays that the rates of in-stream primary production in tropical regions are at least an order of magnitude greater than similar temperate systems.


See also

* Electrolithoautotroph * Electrotroph * Heterotrophic nutrition *
Organotroph An organotroph is an organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interacti ...
*
Primary nutritional groups Primary nutritional groups are groups of organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells (cell theory). Organisms are classified by taxono ...


References


External links

* * * {{Modelling ecosystems Trophic ecology Microbial growth and nutrition Biology terminology Plant nutrition