Home Topics Chemoheterotrophic Bacteria


The Coyote and The Badger

The Coyote and The Badger

A very interesting clip just blew up the internet! If you haven’t seen this video of the coyote and the badger in your feed...
Gardnerella vaginalis

Gardnerella Vaginalis

Definition Gardnerella vaginalis is the name of a micro-aerophilic coccobacillus found in the vaginal flora. Gardnerella vaginalis does not cause bacterial vaginosis (vaginal infection) unless...
Acetic Acid

Acetic Acid

Definition Acetic acid is a mildly corrosive monocarboxylic acid. Otherwise known as ethanoic acid, methanecarboxylic acid, hydrogen acetate or ethylic acid, this organic compound is...
Amino Acids

Amino Acids

Definition Amino acids are the building blocks of polypeptides and proteins and play important roles in metabolic pathway, gene expression, and cell signal transduction regulation....
BCAA supplements: a muscle myth?

Branched Chain Amino Acids

Definition The branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are three of the nine nutritionally essential amino acids. These three ingredients form a...
Sulfuric acid

Sulfuric Acid

Definition Sulfuric acid (sulphuric acid) is a corrosive mineral acid with an oily, glassy appearance that gave it its earlier name of oil of vitriol....
Bile salt action in the gut

Bile Salts

Definition Bile salts are found in bile, a secretion produced by liver cells to aid digestion. Although bile is 95% water, bile salts are its...
The salivary glands

Submandibular Gland

Definition Submandibular glands are the second-largest salivary gland type, producing around 65% of our saliva when unstimulated (at rest). Located under the jaw, the exocrine...
Metaphase I

Metaphase I

Definition The first metaphase of meisosis I encompasses the alignment of paired chromosomes along the center (metaphase plate) of a cell, ensuring that two complete...
Prophase II

Prophase II

Definition During prophase II of meiosis II, four important steps occur. These are the condensing of chromatin into chromosomes, disintegration of the nuclear envelope, migration...

Chemoheterotrophic Bacteria

There are two things that make chemoheterotrophic bacteria unique. They are unable to make their own food (like autotrophs do) so they get their energy from the oxidation of inorganic minerals in their environment. Also, these bacteria cannot make organic molecules from inorganic sources (they cannot “fix” carbon) so they eat other organisms to get the carbon they need.

An example of chemoheterotrophic bacteria is a sub-type called lithotrophic bacteria, also known as “rock eaters” or “stone eaters.” These bacteria are found in underground water sources and on the ocean floor where there are both mineral food sources and organic molecules available. The common food and energy sources for them are dead organic material and elemental sulfur and iron and gases having these elements such as hydrogen sulfide.

Troph flow chart
The image above is a flowchart that helps determine the trophic category an organism belongs to. It shows that chemoheterotrophs don’t make their own food (they don’t use photosynthesis to fix carbon) and they get their energy from the oxidation of inorganic molecules.


  • Lithotroph. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 19, 2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithotroph