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What is Heterotrophic Nutrition: Meaning, Examples, Holozoic Nutrition, Saprophytic and Parasitic Nutrition


An organism that consumes energy and nutrients from other animals and plants. Heterotrophic nutrition is when an organism gets its nourishment from other living things. Consumers are another term for heterotrophs. Animals, fungi, and bacteria are all examples of heterotrophs. Heterotrophic feeding is a method of obtaining complex, ready-to-eat foods.

What is Heterotrophic nutrition?

Heterotrophic nutrition is recognised as the way in which certain species rely on other organisms for survival. Heterotrophs are recognised as creatures who cannot make themselves and must depend on other species.

Types of Heterotrophic Nutrition

The types of heterotrophic ways of feeding and the species that fit into them are described in depth below. Different types of heterotrophic nutrition exist in organisms, which may be divided into the following categories.
1. Holozoic Nutrition
2. Saprophytic Nutrition
3. Parasitic Nutrition

1. Holozoic Nutrition

  • This is a heterotrophic diet in which organisms consume solid food, also known as ingestive nutrition.
  • The internal transformation and intake, including liquid and solid food, is called holozoic feeding in an organism.
  • The injection, digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination are step-by-step procedures.
  • The food ingested is gradually broken up into smaller organic particles within the digestive process.
  • Through the excretion process, the unnecessary, ingested particles are removed from the body as the helpful particles and food are absorbed.
  • ll vertebrates are classified as holozoic creatures.
  • Besides this, several unicellular creatures such as amoeba are additional animals with holozoic feeding.
  • There are three varieties of holozoic creatures, which are distinguished by the food they consume.

Types of Holozoic Organisms

The three categories of holozoic creatures are as follows:
1. Herbivores- They are herbivorous creatures that rely on plants for food and nourishment. Herbivores include animals such as deer, elephants, and cows.
2. Carnivores- They are organisms that eat, ingest, or rely on some other animals for consumption. Tigers, wolves, and lions are examples of carnivores.
3. Omnivores are organisms that could also sustain the food of other living organisms like plants or animals. Pigs, cockroaches, ants, and raccoons are examples of omnivores.

2. Saprophytic Nutrition

  • This is a heterotrophic diet in which organisms derive nourishment from organic degradation leftovers.
  • Saprophytic nutrition is indeed the feeding process for mammals of dead but also degraded energy, food and nutritional substances or organisms.
  • Saprophytes are referred to as organisms following saprophytic feeding.
  • Saprophytes are essential for the ecosystem, as they contribute to the cleanliness of surroundings as well as the environment, free from undesirable materials and aid with the process of nutrient recycling.
  • The fungus and several kinds of bacteria are popular uses of saprophytes.
  • Such organisms emit specialised enzymes that operate on complicated as well as simple organic compounds, making them easily edible.

The Saprophyte Digestion Process

  • Saprophytes are derived from a Greek term and are commonly referred to as the "plants"- as the term "phyte" means "plants."
  • These are primarily known for employing a digestive process called extracellular digestion, which is characteristic of saprophytes.
  • Certain digestive chemicals are released into the environment during this process, which aids in the breakdown of organic molecules into simpler materials.
  • The remaining nutrients are subsequently metabolised by being absorbed directly via the cell membranes of the organism.

3. Parasitic Nutrition

  • This is the third type of heterotrophic food in which an organism is derived from another biological organism.
  • Parasite nutrition is indeed a heterotrophic diet in which an organisation exists on or nourishes another creature.
  • Organisms that live in the host organism but instead obtain nourishment are referred to as parasites.
  • Parasites are frequently directly derived by the host with their nutrients and energy, which may be damaging to the health of the host organisation and kill the host.
  • The host organism offers nourishment, energy, food and shelter, which is entirely dependent on its hosts to exist.
  • Either one plant or an animal could be a host organism. Lice on human skulls, tapeworms, cuscuta, barnacles, and many others are typical parasites.

Two major types of parasites may be:

Such parasites stay outside the host body to collect the organism's nutrients and fuel. For example, bed bugs, lice, ticks, as well as mosquitoes are used as ectoparasites.

Such parasites stay inside the host's body to collect the host's nutrients and fuel. E.g. tapeworm, ascaris, plasmodium vivax, etc., are endoparasites.

Thus, Heterotrophic nutrition refers to a type of nutrition for which organisms rely on other species for food to thrive. The organisms acquire prepared organic food from external sources. It is the mode of nourishment.

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