Photoheterotroph Vs Photoautotroph: What’s The Difference?

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants turn sunlight and water into food. This involves a series of three steps: light absorption, light conversion, and food production. The first two steps – light absorption and light conversion – are carried out by a photosynthetic organism, also called a photoheterotroph.

A photoautotrophic organism, on the other hand, uses light to produce energy for itself rather than converting it into food for the photoheterotroph.

What’s the difference between photoheterotrophs and photoautotrophs? And what does that have to do with photosynthesis? Read on to find out!

What is a photoheterotroph?

A photoheterotroph is one of two basic types of photosynthesis. In photoheterotrophic organisms, the light energy used to make food comes from the sun or an artificial light source. These organisms are typically found in warm, moist environments like soil and water.

They lack the ability to make their own ATP and instead must extract it from photosynthetic products.

Photoautotrophs are a type of photoheterotroph that can also use light as a source of energy, but they can also synthesize their own ATP using carbon dioxide from the air.

Photoheterotrophs uses light energy to break down organic matter into simpler molecules that they can use for energy.

What is a Photoautotroph?

A photoautotroph is a type of organism that gets its energy from the sun. This means that they are able to use light to create their own food. Photoheterotrophs are organisms that get their energy from other organisms.

Some photoautotrophs use light to create simple sugars from carbon dioxide and water. Other photoautotrophs use light to create complex molecules from simpler ones.

Photoautotrophs are a common type of organism in the world. They are found in both environments that have sunlight, and environments that do not have sunlight.

The Difference Between Photoheterotroph and Photoautotroph

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between photoheterotrophs and photoautotrophs, but in a nutshell, photoautotrophs are organisms that can use light to produce their own food while photoheterotrophs are organisms that rely on other organisms to provide them with food. Here are some key differences:

Photoautotrophs are able to produce their own food by using light to break down organic matter. This process is called photosynthesis. Photoheterotrophs, on the other hand, rely on other organisms to provide them with food.

These organisms are called autotrophs and they use energy from the sun to convert nutrients into energy forms that the heterotrophic organism can use.

How photoheterotrophism Works

Photosynthesis is the process by which light energy is converted into organic matter in a plant. This is done by the photosynthesis reaction, which is an electrochemical reaction that takes place between the light energy and the electrons in the chloroplasts of plants.

In photoheterotrophism, plants use sunlight to provide energy for their own growth and reproduction. Plants that are photoautotrophs, on the other hand, capture organic matter from their environment to use as nourishment.

There are several key differences between photoheterotrophism and photoautotrophism that can affect how these plants grow and function.

For one, photoheterotrophic plants must have special pigments to convert light into chemical energy, while photoautotrophic plants do not require any special pigments.

Additionally, photoheterotrophic plants rely on bacteria to help them break down organic matter, while photoautotrophic plants can do this themselves.

Finally, most photoheterotrophic organisms live within cells of photosynthetic organisms, whilephotoautotrophic organisms can exist outside of cells.


In a nutshell, photoheterotrophs use light energy to produce organic molecules from inorganic molecules while photoautotrophs use carbon dioxide and water to produce organic molecules from inorganic molecules.

This difference is what led one group of organisms (photoheterotrophs) to evolve into plants while the other group (photoautotrophs) evolved into animals. There are still many unanswered questions about how this process works, but it’s clear that these two groups of organisms have developed differently for a reason.