- 1. Self-nourishing. The ability of an organism to produce food from inorganic compounds. 2. Pertaining to an autotroph.
* * *au·to·tro·phic .ȯt-ə-'trō-fik adj1) needing only carbon dioxide or carbonates as a source of carbon and a simple inorganic nitrogen compound for metabolic synthesis2) not requiring a specified exogenous factor for normal metabolismau·to·tro·phi·cal·ly -fi-k(ə-)lē adv
* * *adj.describing organisms (known as autotrophs) that synthesize their organic materials from carbon dioxide and nitrates or ammonium compounds, using an external source of energy. Photoautotrophic organisms, including green plants and some bacteria, derive their energy from sunlight; chemoautotrophic (or chemosynthetic) organisms obtain energy from inorganic chemical reactions. All autotrophic bacteria are nonparasitic. Compare heterotrophic.
* * *au·to·tro·phic (aw″to-troґfik) [auto- + -trophic] self-sustaining; said of a type of nutrition in which organisms are capable of synthesizing organic molecules as nutritive substances. Cf. heterotrophic.
Medical dictionary. 2011.