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noun, plural: photoautotrophs

An organism, typically a plant, obtaining energy from sunlight as its source of energy to convert inorganic materials into organic materials for use in cellular functions such as biosynthesis and respiration.


In order to capture light as source of energy, photoautotrophs carry out photosynthesis, converting energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into organic materials. Photoautotrophs provide nutrition for many forms of life. They include the plants, algae and certain protists bacteria.

Word origin: Gk: photo = light, auto = self, troph = nourishment
Related forms: photoautotrophic (adjective)

Variant: phototroph

Compare: chemoautotroph
See also: photolitotrophic autotroph

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