"Autotrophic Processes" is a descriptor in the National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus,
MeSH (Medical Subject Headings). Descriptors are arranged in a hierarchical structure,
which enables searching at various levels of specificity.
The processes by which organisms use simple inorganic substances such as gaseous or dissolved carbon dioxide and inorganic nitrogen as nutrient sources. Contrasts with heterotrophic processes which make use of organic materials as the nutrient supply source. Autotrophs can be either chemoautotrophs (or chemolithotrophs), largely ARCHAEA and BACTERIA, which also use simple inorganic substances for their metabolic energy reguirements; or photoautotrophs (or photolithotrophs), such as PLANTS and CYANOBACTERIA, which derive their energy from light. Depending on environmental conditions some organisms can switch between different nutritional modes (autotrophy; HETEROTROPHY; chemotrophy; or PHOTOTROPHY) to utilize different sources to meet their nutrient and energy requirements.
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