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Most organisms like fungi, all animals, or some protists do not have the capability of trapping the energy from the sun. Hence, these cannot prepare organic food from inorganic substances. These organisms are termed as heterotrophs. These depend on readymade food that is plants, animals and their products or obtain the energy by burning the organic molecules of the food in their body. This mode of nutrition is known as heterotrophic nutrition.
Heterotrophic nutrition is of two types that are:
(A) Holotrophic nutrition-It depends feeding on readymade food materials. All animals obtain readymade food or utilize it in their respective digestive function by breaking complex organic substances into the simple molecules with the help of digestive enzymes.
(B)Saprophytic nutrition-In this type of nutrition, the animal absorbs the dissolved organic matter through the body surface. This is the characteristic of bacteria and fungi.
Heterotrophic nutrition means the organism is a consumer and cannot manufacture its own nutrients from inorganic substances, the way an autotroph or plant can do. Heterotrophs may be herbivores and feed on plants, or carnivores and feed on flesh, or omnivores, feeding on both plants and meat. Decomposers feed on dead organisms and their remains but are considered to be heterotrophs. As long as the organic matter is ready-made and available to consume, animals, certain carnivorous plants, certain bacteria and fungi are considered to be heterotrophs.
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