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Definition of Chemoheterotroph

Chemoheterotroph Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
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Chemotrophs are organisms that obtain energy by the oxidation of electron donors in their environments. These molecules can be organic (chemoorganotrophs) or inorganic (chemolithotrophs). The chemotroph designation is in contrast to phototrophs, which utilize solar energy. Chemotrophs can be either autotrophic or heterotrophic.
  • Chemoautotrophs (or chemotrophic autotroph), (Gr: Chemo (χημία) = chemical, auto (αὐτός) = self, troph (τροφιά) = nourishment) in addition to deriving energy from chemical reactions, synthesize all necessary organic compounds from carbon dioxide. Chemoautotrophs use inorganic energy sources, such as hydrogen sulfide, elemental sulfur, ferrous iron, molecular hydrogen, and ammonia. Most are bacteria or archaea that live in hostile environments such as deep sea vents and are the primary producers in such ecosystems. Evolutionary scientists believe that the first organisms to inhabit Earth were chemoautotrophs that produced oxygen as a by-product and later evolved into both aerobic,heterotrophs animal-like organisms and photosynthetic, plant-like organisms. Chemoautotrophs generally fall into several groups: methanogens, halophiles, sulfur oxidizers and reducers, nitrifiers, anammox bacteria, and thermoacidophiles. Chemolithotrophic growth could be dramatically fast, such as Thiomicrospira crunogena with a doubling time around one hour.
  • Chemoheterotrophs (or chemotrophic heterotrophs) (Gr: Chemo (χημία) = chemical, hetero (ἕτερος) = (an)other, troph (τροφιά) = nourishment) are unable to fix carbon to form their own organic compounds. Chemoheterotrophs can be chemolithoheterotrophs, utilizing inorganic energy sources such as sulfur or chemoorganoheterotrophs, utilizing organic energy sources such as carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins.

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