23 Autotrophs Examples: Detailed Explanations And Images

Here, we will be discussing about different examples of autotrophs.

Autotrophs(where Auto means Self and Trophe means Feeding) are lifeforms that prepare their own food with the help of water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and other chemical substances. To know about it more, go through the autotrophs examples down below.

Now, let us understand the concept more by relevant examples that are based on these two food preparation processes by the autotrophic organisms.

Some examples of autotrophs that utilize photosynthesis mode:-

Some examples of autotrophs that utilize chemosynthesis mode:-

Autotrophs(where Auto means Self and Trophe means Feeding) are lifeforms that prepare their own food with the help of water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and other chemical substances. To know about it more, go through the autotroph examples down below.

Flow Chart of autotroph and heterotroph process
Flow Chart of autotroph and heterotroph process- wikipedia

They are generally referred to as producers because they can produce their own food. There are various types of autotrophs in the ecosystem, each with its own way of preparing food. Photosynthesis and Chemosynthesis are two of the food preparation processes. 

As a result, most autotrophs (all green-leaved plants) prepare their nutrition through photosynthesis, which converts light energy from the sun into a nutrient called glucose. It is then by converting water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the environment. These are also known as phototrophs.\

On the other hand, rare autotrophs use the chemosynthesis process to synthesize food rather than relying on solar energy. Instead, they use chemical reactions to produce food, like frequently mixing hydrogen sulfide or methane with oxygen. Chemosynthetic organisms (or Chemotrophs) survive in harsh environments where toxic chemicals required for oxidation are plentiful.

Plants are the major suppliers of food. Plants synthesize nutrients from various elements acquired from the air and the soil. This series of elements also includes nitrogen. Plants use protein biosynthesis to acquire nitrogen from the soil. 

Photosynthesis (Phototrophs) Examples:

1) Green Algae

Photosynthesis produces nutrients for the organism’s growth in the cells of green algae. Photosynthesis needs the participation of both light and carbon dioxide. Green algae absorb sunlight using chlorophyll, a green component that gives them their green color.

Green Algae as autotrophs examples
Green Algae as autotrophs examples from wikipedia

2) Lichens 

It produces its food and is not reliant on other organisms. It also functions as a heterotroph. But because of its symbiotic association with algae and fungi, its plant body is entirely covered in green chlorophyll, making it a photoautotrophic organism. In contrast, lichen is a source of energy for various heterotrophs.

Lichens from source – wikipedia

3) Grass

The grass is green in color because it has chloroplasts present in its cell, which are responsible for photosynthesis. However, it is regarded as a primary producer and a phototroph as a field plant.

4) Pinnularia 

It is a form of planktonic algae that is phototrophic because it has chloroplasts, which allow it to photosynthesize.

5) Gingko biloba

It is a phototrophic gymnosperm with green leaves with chloroplasts. It is also a single living species.

Gingko Biloba
Gingko Biloba from source- wikipedia

6) Mango (dicotyledonous plant)

It is a photoautotrophic plant, meaning it can prepare its food using chlorophyll and is not reliant on others for nutrition.

7) Plant of Bougainvillea

Although it is covered in pinkish blooms, it is a dicotyledonous plant with green leaves containing chlorophyll. That indicates a photoautotrophic plant.

8) Ferns

Ferns are primarily photoautotrophs or light-loving plants. They use light as a source to produce organic molecules like product glucose.

9) Liverworts (Bryophyte)

More than over 9,000 varieties of small nonvascular spore-producing plants found in the environment are classified as liverwort. As a result, they exhibit an autotrophic method of nutrition.

Liverworts – Wikipedia

10) Cyanobacteria (Photosynthetic Bacteria)

Cyanobacteria is a photoautotrophic prokaryote with a broad and diverse number of organisms. A specific combination of pigments defines their potential to undertake photosynthesis and respiration.

11) Phytoplankton

Phytoplankton includes everything from photosynthesizing bacteria to algae – cyanobacteria. Autotrophs are small organisms that dwell in the ocean.

12) Dinoflagellates

Dinoflagellates can be autotrophic, heterotrophic, or mixed in their mode of nutrition. About 50% of these species are photosynthetic, yet most are predatory.

Autotrophic microorganisms that are chemoautotrophs are extremophile bacteria. They thrive in severe environments where light cannot easily pass through. The fundamental source of plant nourishment is the spontaneous fixation of atmospheric carbon dioxide into simple sugars. 

Chemosynthesis (Chemotrophs) Examples:

1) Methanococcus

Methanogens or bacteria produce huge amounts of methane during the decomposition of organic matter by the process of Chemosynthesis. Methanococcus is a type of methanogen which is also an autotroph.

2) Methanospirillum

It is another form of methanogen that does not require light to generate its food and instead relies on chemical compounds to convert inorganic to organic materials.

3) Dunaliella Salina

It’s a halophile, a halophilic green microalga that Chemosynthesis its food as an obligate autotroph.

Dunaliella Salina
Dunaliella Salina from wikipedia

4) Wallemia Ichthyophaga

It is one of three fungal species in the genus Wallemia; they have moderate nutritional requirements but require a lot of sodium ions for development and metabolism, which is why they are called chemotrophs.

5) Thermoplasma

These are both thermophilic and acidophilic, which means they can grow in high temperatures and low pH environments. So, they consume food through the chemosynthesis process.

Thermoplasma from wikipedia

6) Sulfolobus

It belongs to the Thermoacidophiles family. Sulfolobus is a facultative autotrophic genus that thrives at 70°C to 87°C with a pH of 2. 

7) Nitrospira

They are chemo-autotrophic organisms, making their food by converting nitrogen into ammonia or other forms. They collect nitrogen from the atmosphere and use it to generate energy through oxidation processes.

8) Nitrosomonas

Nitrifying bacteria break down ammonia, the most reduced form of nitrogen in the soil, to nitrate as the most oxidized form.

9) Beggiotoa

Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria are colorless and have high efficiency in food production. Reduced sulfur compounds are frequently generated because of anaerobic heterotrophic respiration with sulfate. However, some waterways receive significant sulfide inputs from underground.

Beggiotoa from wikipedia

10) Chromatiaceae (purple-sulfur bacteria)

It prepares its nutrition by converting sulfur and components to sulfates using light energy in an o2-free environment.

11) Acidihalobacter Properus

Yet it is another chemotroph, as it uses chemical substances such as purple-sulfur bacteria to synthesize its own nutrition.

12) Sphaerotilus

An iron-oxidizing bacteria gets its energy from oxidizing ferrous iron in the water. The underwater periphyton Sphaerotilus natans is connected with contaminated water.

Please click to learn more about Chemoautotrophs Examples.

Roshny Batu

Hey! I'm Roshny Batu. I got a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany. In the domain of academic writing, I've also worked as an intern. I consider myself fortunate to be a part of the Lambdageeks family as a SME in Bio-Technology. I love writing articles on a variety of topics since it allows me to learn more about the topics and their significance. I devote a considerable amount of time to research to provide you with an accurate answer. I also believe in sharing information that will enlighten someone's wisdom and knowledge, so I prefer to use examples to help people understand. Apart from that, I love designing interiors, painting, and mastering makeup artist skills. I don't want to be confined to a single field. So, I find it more exciting to explore different fields where my interests lie.

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