Autotrophs vs Heterotrophs

Autotrophs can produce their own organic compounds from inorganic compounds surrounding them whereas heterotrophs must consume other organisms for organic substances for energy.

Can produce its own food using photosynthesis; producer.Cannot make its own food, therefore derives its food from other sources; consumer.

Nutrient and Gas Requirements

Nutrient/Gas RequirementAutotrophHeterotroph
Oxygen gasDiffuses into plant across the cell surfaceDiffuses through the respiratory surface
Carbon dioxide gasDiffuses into the plantNot required
WaterDiffuses into the rootIngested into the digestive system
GlucoseProduced by photosynthesisIngested into the digestive system as either simple or complex carbohydrates, and absorbed into the bloodstream
Lipids/proteinsProduced by the plant from glucose and mineral ionsIngested into the digestive system and absorbed into the bloodstream as amino acids, fatty acids or glycerol
Mineral ionsMove into the plant through the roots by diffusion and active transportIngested into the digestive system and absorbed into the bloodstream