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/ˈôtəˌträf/  /-ˌtrōf/ Noun, pl. autotrophs 1. Organism that produces complex organic compounds (such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) from simple substances present in its surroundings, generally using energy from light (photosynthesis) or inorganic chemical reactions (chemosynthesis). They are the producers in a food chain, such as plants on land or algae in water. They are able to make their own food, and do not need a living energy or organic carbon source. ( 2. A organism capable of making nutritive organic molecules from inorganic sources via photosynthesis (involving light energy) or chemosynthesis (involving chemical energy). ( 3. Organisms that obtain their carbon and energy (especially the former) without eating other organisms. Some autotrophs (though not all) obtain their energy from photons (i.e., light). (   Syn. producer, “self-feeding” Word origin: Greek autos “self” and trophe...

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