Definition of Lithotrophic
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Lithotrophic Definition from Encyclopedia Dictionaries & Glossaries
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A lithotroph is an organism that uses an inorganic substrate (usually of mineral origin) to obtain reducing equivalents for use in biosynthesis (e.g., carbon dioxide fixation) or energy conservation via aerobic or anaerobic respiration. Known chemolithotrophs are exclusively microbes; No known macrofauna possesses the ability to utilize inorganic compounds as energy sources. Macrofauna and lithotrophs can form symbiotic relationships, in which case the lithotrophs are called "prokaryotic symbionts." An example of this is chemolithotrophic bacteria in deep sea worms or plastids, which are organelles within plant cells that may have evolved from photolithotrophic cyanobacteria-like organisms. Lithotrophs belong to either the domain Bacteria or the domain Archaea. The term "Lithotroph" is created from the Greek terms 'lithos' (rock) and 'troph' (consumer), meaning the "eaters of rock." Many lithoautotrophs are extremophiles, but this is not universally so.
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