Autotroph Definition for Kids

Autotroph Definition for Kids


One of the most important parts of being a healthy human being is to make sure that you get the right amount of food on a daily basis. Without food, your body would eventually suffer from exhaustion, sicknesses, and you would become quite unhealthy. All organisms in the world were designed to be able to get a food source that is important to make sure that they survive in the wild or in containment. The two main categories that scientists use to separate the 2 main types of organisms are: autotroph and heterotroph. Once you understand the purpose of an autotroph and how they get their food, it will be easy to identify them in your everyday life.

1. Making Your Own Food

One of the most important things about an autotroph is the fact that they are able to make their own food. In most cases they will get food by absorbing all of the sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. They will then go through photosynthesis to create glucose and sugars to help them survive. All of these sugars are what is necessary to help them grow big and strong.

2. Being a Food Source

The whole world revolves around what we like to call, the circle of life. That means that some things on the planet are meant to be reliable food sources for other things on the planet, much like the predator pyramid. For example, minnows are food for larger fish and larger fish are food for us. Autotrophs have the main goal of not only making the world more beautiful, but to also be the majority of food that heterotrophs rely on. They will eat the autotrophs and make their own type of energy, meaning that autotrophs are one of the main reasons as to why heterotrophs are alive.

3. No Other Food Source

As mentioned earlier, autotrophs are known to make their own food but it’s important to remember that they do not rely on any other type of food source except for themselves and what they can produce inside of their systems. All that is needed is water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight. They are very interesting organisms, but they are also the foundation of the food chain.

4. Reducing Carbon

Autotrophs aren’t only important to make sure that heterotrophs have a good meal every day, but they also help to make our world a more comfortable and healthier place. All autotrophs go through a process that converts inorganic compounds into organic compounds. Since they need carbon dioxide to create their own food, all of the nasty chemicals in the air that are expelled when we breathe are absorbed by the autotrophs. They then create their own source of food and put out a healthier version of the chemical, such as oxygen.

5. Primary Production

Another interesting component of autotrophs is that their food making process is what helps to make them so healthy for us and other heterotrophs to eat on a regular basis. One of these unique steps is when they create energy molecules. All of the environmental energy from the sun or inorganic chemicals that the autotrophs absorb is transformed into energy producing molecules that we know as carbohydrates. Athletes and trainers all rely on carbohydrates to give their body the energy it needs either before or after a long workout. The creation of energy molecules is known as primary production.

6. Nourishing All Heterotrophs

You might be thinking about how autotrophs are able to make sure that every type of heterotroph gets enough nourishment, especially if some heterotrophs are carnivores. You would be surprised to learn that although a heterotroph might not be a herbivore or an omnivore, it will still be able to take advantage of the healthy parts of an autotroph. When a carnivore eats a herbivore or an omnivore it will not only be getting its food from its prey, but also from the food that the prey ate before. These heterotrophs get nourishment both from autotrophs and other heterotrophs.

7. The Importance of Photosynthesis

Now that we know that autotrophs need to go through photosynthesis to make their food, it’s important to know how photosynthesis works and how it helps primary production. First, plants get all of the sun’s photons and absorb them into their bodies. Water molecules are then split and oxygen is released out into the planet. The plants will then begin to store the energy in the photon to create simple sugars that are known for making carbohydrates, starch, cellulose, and glucose. Plants also need a lot of protein, which is generally created with the help of phosphates, nitrates, and sulfates inside of the soil the plants grow in.

Autotrophs are one of the most important parts of the food chain as it provides a lot of healthy eating for important animals that also feed other animals higher on the chain.