Mode of Nutrition in Plants

Mode of Nutrition in Plants

Table of Contents

What is the Mode of Nutrition in Plants?

The mode of nutrition refers to how an organism gets the food it needs to grow, repair itself, and survive. Plants primarily use a mode of nutrition called autotrophic nutrition. This means they can manufacture their own food from simple inorganic substances like water, carbon dioxide, and minerals. Pretty cool, right?

What is Autotrophic Nutrition? - Definition, Types, Example

Types of Plant Nutrition

While autotrophic nutrition is the primary mode of nutrition for plants, there are a few exceptions:

  • Autotrophic Nutrition (Photosynthesis)

  • Heterotrophic Nutrition

  • Parasitic Nutrition

  • Saprophytic Nutrition

Autotrophic Nutrition: Plants Make Their Own Food

  • Plants are autotrophic organisms, meaning they have self-nourishment.
  • Unlike heterotrophs, plants don’t need to find food.
  • Autotrophic comes from Greek: “auto” = self and “trophic” = nourishment.
  • Plants use simple inorganic materials like water, carbon dioxide, and minerals.
  • They convert these materials into complex organic compounds like glucose (sugar).
  • Glucose fuels all the plant’s activities: growth, fighting disease, etc.

teaching poster with the process of cellular respiration of a growing plant with leaves.


The process by which plants make their own food is called photosynthesis. It’s like a magical kitchen where sunlight is the power source, and water and carbon dioxide are the ingredients.

Photosynthesis process vector. Plants transform carbon dioxide to oxygen in graphic design.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

Light Captured:

  • Chloroplasts: Tiny green pockets within leaves.
  • Chlorophyll: Pigment in chloroplasts that absorbs sunlight energy.

Ingredients Gathered:

  • Water: Taken in through roots and travels to leaves.
  • Carbon Dioxide: Absorbed from air through tiny pores called stomata on leaves.

The Reaction:

  • Inside chloroplasts, using captured sunlight energy, water, and carbon dioxide are converted into:

Photosynthesis equation with molecular models. Biochemical process used by plants responsible for producing the oxygen O2. Sugars are synthesized from carbon dioxide CO2, and water H2O.

  • Glucose (Sugar): Used by the plant for energy.
  • Oxygen: Released as a byproduct.

Sunlight provides the energy to power the whole reaction. It’s like the fire under the pot in a real kitchen.

Water is a building block in the formation of glucose. It’s also needed to keep the plant hydrated and healthy.

Carbon dioxide, which we exhale when we breathe, is also an essential ingredient. Plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which we breathe in. This creates a beautiful balance in nature.

Heterotrophic Nutrition

  • Plants are often thought of as chlorophyll-powered chefs, but some rely on a different strategy: heterotrophic nutrition.
  • Heterotrophs, unlike photosynthetic plants, can’t make their own food.
  • Instead, they extract nutrients from other organisms.

Examples of Heterotrophic Nutrition - Javatpoint

In the plant world, this takes two main forms:

  • Parasitic Plants: These steal nutrients directly from living hosts using specialized structures like haustoria. Think dodder vines or mistletoe.

Unwanted guests: the weird world of parasitic plants | Natural History  Museum

  • Saprophytic Plants: Decomposers at heart, saprobes get their nutrients from dead and decaying organic matter. Indian pipes and Venus flytraps (yes, they cheat a bit with photosynthesis too!) are fascinating examples.

The Ultimate Guide to Saprotrophic Mushrooms | GroCycle

Sneaky Adaptations

These heterotrophic plants have shed the green pigment chlorophyll and developed unique skills to survive:

  • Reduced or no chlorophyll: No need for sunlight energy, no need for chlorophyll!
  • Haustoria (parasites only): Straws for stealing nutrients directly from unsuspecting hosts.
  • Digestive enzymes (saprobes only): Enzymes break down complex molecules in dead matter into a delicious, absorbable meal.

Parasitic Nutrition

Unlike most plants that make their own food through photosynthesis, parasitic plants are the cunning tricksters of the plant kingdom, stealing nutrients from their neighbors.

CBSE notes for biology class 7 nutrition in plants

How They Steal

  • Parasitic plants have specialized organs called haustoria (highlight) that act like straws, piercing the host’s vascular tissue (highlight) to siphon off water, sugars, and minerals (highlight).

There are two main types:

  • Stem parasites: Attach to stems, like dodder (orange thread-like plant with no chlorophyll).

Stem parasitic plant Cuscuta australis (dodder) transfers herbivory-induced  signals among plants | PNAS

  • Root parasites: Target roots, like mistletoe (familiar holiday plant).

Life cycle of root parasitic plants. (a) Seeds are buried in the soil... |  Download Scientific Diagram

Some notorious parasitic plants include:

  • Dodder: An aggressive, orange parasite that strangles its host.
  • Mistletoe: The holiday decoration that can damage trees.
  • Witchweed: A major agricultural pest in Africa.


In conclusion, plants exhibit a diversity of nutritional strategies. While autotrophic nutrition through photosynthesis is the most widespread, heterotrophic and mixotrophic modes of nutrition allow plants to survive in a wider range of environments and exploit different nutrient sources.


 A: The four modes of nutrition in plants are:

  1. Autotrophic nutrition: Plants produce their food through photosynthesis, utilizing sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to synthesize glucose.
  2. Heterotrophic nutrition: Some plants are partially heterotrophic, meaning they obtain nutrients from both organic and inorganic sources.
  3. Saprophytic nutrition: Certain plants, such as fungi, obtain nutrients from decaying organic matter.
  4. Parasitic nutrition: Parasitic plants acquire nutrients from the host plants they attach to, often at the expense of the host’s health.

A: An essay on the modes of nutrition in plants would typically discuss the various ways in which plants obtain nutrients to sustain their growth and metabolism. It would cover autotrophic nutrition, where plants synthesize their food through photosynthesis using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Additionally, it would address heterotrophic nutrition, saprophytic nutrition, and parasitic nutrition, highlighting how plants can adapt to different environments and ecological niches to acquire necessary nutrients for survival.

A: The mode of nutrition in green plants, as typically taught in Class 7 science curriculum, is autotrophic nutrition. Green plants produce their food through photosynthesis, utilizing chlorophyll, sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to synthesize glucose and oxygen.

A: Plants primarily exhibit autotrophic nutrition, synthesizing their food through photosynthesis. Animals typically exhibit heterotrophic nutrition, relying on organic matter as a food source, either by consuming plants directly (herbivores), other animals (carnivores), or both (omnivores). Fungi can exhibit various modes of nutrition; some are saprophytic, decomposing dead organic matter, while others are parasitic, obtaining nutrients from living organisms.

A: The mode of nutrition refers to the method by which organisms obtain nutrients for growth, metabolism, and energy production. It encompasses processes such as autotrophy, where organisms synthesize their food, and heterotrophy, where organisms consume organic matter produced by other organisms for sustenance.

Animals primarily exhibit heterotrophic nutrition, meaning they obtain nutrients by consuming organic matter produced by other organisms. They consume plants, other animals, or both to meet their energy and nutritional requirements. Some animals have specialized feeding mechanisms, such as herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, based on their dietary preferences and adaptations.


  1. Plants that produce their own food using sunlight are called:

    • a. Autotrophs
    • b. Heterotrophs
    • c. Carnivores
    • d. Herbivores
  2. The pigment responsible for capturing sunlight energy in photosynthesis is:

    • a. Carbon dioxide
    • b. Chlorophyll
    • c. Water
    • d. Glucose
  3. In photosynthesis, plants convert:

    • a. Oxygen to carbon dioxide
    • b. Light energy to chemical energy
    • c. Water to sugar
    • d. Minerals to nutrients
  4. Plants that obtain nutrients from decomposing organic matter are called:

    • a. Parasitic plants
    • b. Carnivorous plants
    • c. Saprophytic plants
    • d. Autotrophic plants
  5. Dodder, a thread-like orange plant, is an example of a:

    • a. Stem parasite
    • b. Root parasite
    • c. Saprophytic plant
    • d. Carnivorous plant
  6. Mistletoe, commonly used as a holiday decoration, is a:

    • a. Root parasite
    • b. Stem parasite
    • c. Saprophytic plant
    • d. Autotrophic plant
  7. Plants that trap and digest insects to supplement their nutrients are:

    • a. Parasitic plants
    • b. Carnivorous plants
    • c. Saprophytic plants
    • d. Autotrophic plants
  8. The main product of photosynthesis is:

    • a. Oxygen
    • b. Glucose
    • c. Water
    • d. Carbon dioxide
  9. Plants obtain water and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis from:

    • a. The soil only
    • b. Sunlight only
    • c. The soil and the air
    • d. They produce both internally
  10. Heterotrophic nutrition in plants is:

    • a. Obtaining nutrients from other organisms
    • b. Producing their own food using photosynthesis
    • c. Absorbing nutrients only from the soil
    • d. None of the above
  11. Photosynthesis occurs in which part of the plant?

    • a. Roots
    • b. Leaves
    • c. Stems
    • d. Flowers
  12. Which of the following statements is FALSE about autotrophic plants?

    • a. They are the primary producers in an ecosystem.
    • b. They can survive without sunlight.
    • c. They obtain all their nutrients from the soil.
    • d. They use chlorophyll for photosynthesis.
  13. Understanding plant nutrition is important for:

    • a. Choosing flower arrangements
    • b. Maintaining healthy ecosystems
    • c. Only for scientific research
    • d. None of the above
  14. An example of a plant that uses both autotrophic and heterotrophic nutrition is:

    • a. Grass
    • b. Oak tree
    • c. Venus flytrap (uses photosynthesis and traps insects)
    • d. Sunflower
  15. Which gas is released into the atmosphere during photosynthesis?

    • a. Carbon dioxide
    • b. Oxygen
    • c. Nitrogen
    • d. Helium
  16. Plants absorb nutrients like minerals and water through their:

    • a. Leaves
    • b. Flowers
    • c. Roots
    • d. Stems (except for some exceptions)
  17. The raw materials needed for photosynthesis are:

    • a. Oxygen and water
    • b. Water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight
    • c. Soil, minerals, and sunlight
    • d. Sugar, oxygen, and water
  18. Plants that cannot produce their own food are classified as:

    • a. Producers
    • b. Consumers
    • c. Decomposers
    • d. None of the above
  19. Which of the following statements about parasitic plants is TRUE?

    • a. They always benefit their host plant.
    • b. They can have a negative impact on their host.
    • c. They never harm the environment.
    • d. All parasitic plants are carnivorous.
  20. The study of plant nutrition is a branch of plant science called:

    • a. Ecology
    • b. Plant physiology
    • c. Genetics
    • d. Taxonomy

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