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An organotroph is an organism that obtains hydrogen or electrons from organic substrates. This term is used in microbiology to classify and describe organisms based on how they obtain electrons for their respiration processes. Some organotrophs such as animals and many bacteria, are also heterotrophs. Organotrophs can be either anaerobic or aerobic.

Antonym: Lithotroph, Adjective: Organotrophic.


The term was suggested in 1946 by Lwoff and collaborators.[1]

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  1. ^ Lwoff, A., C.B. van Niel, P.J. Ryan, and E.L. Tatum (1946). Nomenclature of nutritional types of microorganisms. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology (5th edn.), Vol. XI, The Biological Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, pp. 302–303, [1].
  • Michael Allaby. "organotroph." A Dictionary of Zoology. 1999, Retrieved 2012-03-30 from
  • The Prokaryotes - A Handbook on the Biology of Bacteria 3rd Ed., Vol 1, CHAPTER 1.4, Prokaryote Characterization and Identification 7, Retrieved from
  • Respiration in aquatic ecosystems Paul A. Del Giorgio, Peter J. leB. Williams, Science, 2005, Retrieved 2012-04-24 from
  • Holmes, Andrew J.; Tujula, Niina A.; Holley, Marita; Contos, Annalisa; James, Julia M.; Rogers, Peter; Gillings, Michael R. (April 2001). "Phylogenetic structure of unusual aquatic microbial formations in Nullarbor caves, Australia". Environmental Microbiology. 3 (4): 256–264. doi:10.1046/j.1462-2920.2001.00187.x. PMID 11359511.
  • Jones, J. Gwynfryn; Davison, William; Gardener, Steven (1984). "Iron reduction by bacteria: range of organisms involved and metals reduced". FEMS Microbiology Letters. 21: 133–136. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6968.1984.tb00198.x.

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