Biotrophic mixotrophy

Biotrophic mixotrophy

Research domain



Definition by Selosse et al. 2017, Ecology Letters, 20: 246–263.
Biotrophic (= symbiotic) mixotrophy: uptake of organic matter derived from interactions with other living organisms (‘nonconstitutive mixotrophs’ sensu Mitra et al. 2016). Such a relationship does not kill the organisms involved, but range from parasitic to mutualistic. This strategy is widespread in terrestrial ecosystems, with green plants that are hemiparasitic (i.e. parasitise other living plants) or partially mycoheterotrophic (i.e. obtain organic matter from mycorrhizal fungi); some plants even use the wastes of symbiotic insects. Biotrophic mixotrophy is also common in aquatic ecosystems where some protists or metazoans live in obligatory symbioses with photosynthetic microalgae (photosymbioses). In all cases, biotrophic mixotrophy appears as a secondarily evolved ability, by autotrophs in terrestrial ecosystems and by heterotrophs in aquatic ecosystems.

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