Question Video: Understanding the Difference between Autotrophs and Heterotrophs | Nagwa Question Video: Understanding the Difference between Autotrophs and Heterotrophs | Nagwa

Question Video: Understanding the Difference between Autotrophs and Heterotrophs Biology • Second Year of Secondary School

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Which of the following tables correctly summarizes autotrophs and heterotrophs? [A] Autotrophs can synthesize their own food in the cells of their bodies. An example of autotrophic organisms are plants. Heterotrophs obtain food by consuming other organisms. An example of heterotrophic organisms are animals. [B] Autotrophs obtain food by consuming other organisms. An example of autotrophic organisms are plants. Heterotrophs can synthesize their own food in the cells of their bodies. An example of heterotrophic organisms are animals. [C] Autotrophs can synthesize their own food in the cells of their bodies. An example of autotrophic organisms are animals. Heterotrophs obtain food by consuming other organisms. An example of heterotrophic organisms are plants.

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Video Transcript

Which of the following tables correctly summarizes autotrophs and heterotrophs? (A) Autotrophs can synthesize their own food in the cells of their bodies. An example of autotrophic organisms are plants. Heterotrophs obtain food by consuming other organisms. An example of heterotrophic organisms are animals. (B) Autotrophs obtain food by consuming other organisms. An example of autotrophic organisms are plants. Heterotrophs can synthesize their own food in the cells of their bodies. An example of heterotrophic organisms are animals. Or (C) autotrophs can synthesize their own food in the cells of their bodies. An example of autotrophic organisms are animals. Heterotrophs obtain food by consuming other organisms. An example of heterotrophic organisms are plants.

To answer this question, let’s review the key facts about the different types of nutrition. But first of all, what is nutrition? Nutrition is the assimilation of food materials by living organisms. This food can be used in cellular respiration, to release energy to be used for things like reproduction, growth, and to drive more metabolism. Food molecules can also be used for other roles such as growth, repair, insulation, and to help enzymes work. Organisms show a variety of methods of nutrition, and we are going to focus on the two broad classifications: autotrophic and heterotrophic. Let’s first look at autotrophic.

Autotrophs are organisms that synthesize their own food from inorganic materials. Auto- means self, and -troph means food. Many autotrophs, like plants, use photosynthesis to make their food and are called photoautotrophs. During this process, light energy from the Sun is used to combine carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil to form glucose. This results in light energy being converted into chemical energy. Photo- means light, and synthesis means to make.

Now that we have reviewed autotrophic nutrition, let’s move on to the heterotrophs. Heterotrophs obtain food by consuming other organisms or organic matter. We are heterotrophs, which means we have to eat our food. Looking at the meanings of the parts of the word, hetero- means other, so we use other food. Heterotroph is therefore a good description for our nutrition as we consume other organisms as sources of food. Our diet is typically made up of plants, fungi, and meat from animals.

Now that we have reviewed the key facts about these two different branches of nutrition, let’s return to the question. It asks, which of the following tables correctly summarizes autotrophs and heterotrophs? In a question like this, it is often useful to take one fact you know and rule out any that don’t fit with this. For example, we have seen that autotrophs make their own food, so we can rule out option (B). We have also learnt that animals, such as us, have to consume our food, so we can rule out option (C).

This leaves us with the correct answer (A). Autotrophs can synthesize their own food in the cells of their body. An example is plants. Heterotrophs have to obtain food by consuming other organisms. An example is animals.

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