noun, plural: producers

(1) An autotrophic organism capable of producing complex organic compounds from simple inorganic molecules through the process of photosynthesis (using light energy) or through chemosynthesis (using chemical energy).

(2) The first trophic level in a food chain in which it serves as a food source for consumers or for higher trophic levels.


Producers are responsible for the production of organic compounds from atmospheric or aquatic carbon dioxide. All life on earth is directly or indirectly reliant on producers, hence, they form the base of the food chain.

Examples of producers are plants, particularly in terrestrial ecosystems, and algae in aquatic ecosystems.

Word origin: L prōdūcere, to lead or bring forward, extend, prolong, produce + -er.

Related terms: primary producer.

Synonym: autotroph.
Compare: consumer.
See also: food chain, energy pyramid.

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