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Heterotrophic Bacteria

Last updated date: 19th Feb 2024
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Heterotrophic Bacteria - Introduction

The heterotrophic bacteria derives energy from the organic compounds. They are found in abundant forms and are widely distributed. They can be either anaerobic or aerobic. These bacteria are omnipresent and can be found in soil, water, and food. They help with the recycling of natural substances. 

The heterotrophic bacteria is liable for the decomposition of organic matter. They live as parasites and lead to several diseases in humans, animals, and plants. They also exist in the form of symbiont in organisms, for example, Rhizobium in root nodules of the legumes etc. Bacteria is used for creating antibiotics, curd, nitrogen-fixation, etc. Organic matter like chitin, cellulose, lignin, and keratin can be decomposed by heterotrophic bacteria. 

The Various Types of Heterotrophic Bacteria

As per their food source, association with other organisms, and habitat, heterotrophic bacteria can be broadly classified in three main categories: Parasitic, Saprophytic, Symbiotic. 

Parasitic Bacteria: The parasitic bacteria can also be the parasite on plants or animals. Not all the parasitic bacteria tend to be pathogenic, for instance microbial flora of the human body, presence in skin, mucous membranes, digestive tract, and other organs that coexist without harming. Various diseases can be caused by the pathogenic heterotrophic bacteria. These have different infection modes and transmission. The examples of the bacteria are as follows. 

In humans: Typhoid - Salmonella Typhi, Cholera - Vibrio cholerae, Tetanus - Clostridium tetani, Lyme disease - Borrelia, Whooping cough - Bordetella pertussis, Diarrhoea - Escherichia coli, Diphtheria - Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Gonorrhoea -  Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Tuberculosis - Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

In plants: Citrus canker - Xanthomonas axonopodis, Blight of beans - Xanthomonas campestris, Crown gall - Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Granville wilt - Pseudomonas solanacearum, and Wildfire of Tobacco - Pseudomonas syringae.

Characteristics of Heterotrophic Bacteria

The bacteria mainly comprises simple cellular structure, that includes capsule, flagellum, cell wall, pili, ribosomes, cytoplasm, and chromosomes. The microorganisms can be found everywhere, in our communities and all around us. The bacteria shape varies based on the type. The length of the complete bacteria is measured only by a few micrometres. 

The other structural features of Prokaryotic Microorganisms are:

  1. It lacks a membrane-bound nucleus.

  2. Every bacterial cell has its own plasmids that are involved in food digestion, replication etc.

  3. It is made of single chromosome, circular-shaped DNA which is found in the cytoplasm. 

  4. The plasmids are circular, small, and have double-stranded DNA structures that are naturally found in bacterial cells.

  5. Bacteria use both sexual as well as asexual methods for reproduction. Most of the bacteria rely on binary fission. 

FAQs on Heterotrophic Bacteria

1. What do you mean by Heterotrophic bacteria?

The heterotrophic bacteria derives its energy from the organic compounds. They are available in abundant forms and they are widely distributed. They can be anaerobic or aerobic. They tend to be omnipresent and are generally found in soil, water, and food. The heterotrophic bacteria also help with the recycling of the natural substances. This bacteria is used in the decomposition of organic matter and they live as parasites and might cause diseases.

2. What are some of the interesting facts associated with Heterotrophic Bacteria?

Some of the interesting facts associated with heterotrophic bacteria are as follows. The bacteria is used in the pharmaceutical industry, numerous food and beverage industries, manufacturing of biopesticides, biofuel, and so on. Spiral, sphere, spherical, and rod are different shapes where bacteria can be located. The bacteria is an important part of the ecosystem, and participates in various activities such as production of gases and minerals. 

3. What are the different aspects of symbiotic bacteria?

The rhizobium which is present in the root nodules of the legumes might be a common example of the symbiotic bacteria. The bacteria that is present in the human guts and the ruminants help with the digestion of food. They also help in the production of vitamins. The major transmission modes of symbiotic bacteria are the horizon transmission and the vertical transmission. In the horizontal transmission, the microbes are acquired from the environment and in vertical transmission, the symbiont is passed from parent to offspring. 

4. What is saprophytic bacteria?

The saprophytic bacteria are considered as the main decomposers of the food chain with the fungi. The complex matter is broken down into simple compounds by the saprophytic bacteria and then it is assimilated. This is helpful for the recycling of nutrients. Saprophyte is the common branching term which is essentially used to refer to the number of organisms which feed on the decaying organic material such as plant matter and the dead, 

5. How can I download the Vedantu notes on “Heterotrophic bacteria”?

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