Types of Heterotrophic Bacteria

Heterotrophics take in sugars from their environment, rather than manufacturing sugar themselves.
••• Bacteria Colonies image by ggw from Fotolia.com

Heterotrophic bacteria are a type of bacteria that take the sugars they need to survive and reproduce from their environment, rather than making the sugars themselves from carbon and hydrogen. Bacteria that do produce their own sugars from carbon and hydrogen are called autotrophic. There are many different subtypes of heterotrophic bacteria.


Photoheterotrophs acquire energy from sunlight.
••• Sun image by KPICKS from Fotolia.com

Photoheterotroph is the term used to describe bacteria that acquire energy from sunlight but require organic compounds like sugars from their environment to survive. Examples of photoheterotroph bacteria include heliobacteria, green non-sulfur bacteria and purple non-sulfur bacteria.


Chemoheterotrophs can acquire energy from thermal vents.
••• schwefelquellen image by detlef menzel from Fotolia.com

Chemoheterotroph is the term used to describe bacteria that acquire energy from chemical reactions. Like all heterotrophs they require organic compounds to survive and cannot manufacture their own. Chemoheterotrophs are often found around thermal vents in the deep ocean.


Hetero-organotrophs are involved in the composting process.
••• terre image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com

Organotroph is the term used to describe bacteria that acquire their energy from an organic substrate. Examples of hetero-organotrophs include the bacteria involved in composting.


Lithotrophs acquire energy from inorganic chemicals like iron.
••• iron image by Aleksandr Lobanov from Fotolia.com

Lithotroph is the term used to describe bacteria that acquire their energy from an inorganic substrate. Heterolithotrophic bacteria are very rare.

Related Articles

Bacteria Life Cycle
How Do Bacteria Feed?
What Role Do Decomposers Play in a Food Chain?
How Do Bacteria Respire?
What Are the Characteristics of the Protista Kingdom?
Difference Between Protozoans & Algae
What Kingdoms Are Heterotrophic & Autotrophic?
What Are the Two Prokaryotic Kingdoms?
Structural Characteristics of Blue-Green Algae
Is Lichen an Autotroph?
How Are Bacteria a Part of Recycling & Biodegrading?
What is a Unicellular Eukaryote?
How Are Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Related?
Differences Between Protozoa & Protists
Which Organelles Would Be Found Within a Cell That...
Soil As a Detritus-Based Ecosystem
What Are the General Characteristics of Monerans?
Characteristics of Microorganisms
Major Types of Bacteria