Heterotrophs represent a major role in primary production and a critical part of the N cycle. Heterotrophs such as fungus, bacteria, and yeasts have been used as biocatalysts for the biotransformation of organic compounds to afford useful compounds such as chiral intermediates for medicines.
Photoheterotrophs are bacteria that acquire energy from sunlight but require organic compounds like sugars from their environment to survive. Examples of photoheterotroph bacteria include heliobacteria, green non-sulfur bacteria, and purple non-sulfur bacteria.
Chemoheterotrophs are bacteria that acquire energy from chemical reactions. Like all heterotrophs, they require organic compounds to survive and cannot manufacture their own.
Organotrophs are bacteria that acquire their energy from an organic substrate. Examples of hetero-organotrophs include the bacteria involved in composting.
Lithotrophs are bacteria that acquire their energy from an inorganic substrate. Heterolithotrophic bacteria are very rare.
Optimum nutrient sources vary widely for both fungi and bacteria. This variation is exploited in bacterial identification and is also explored for the cultural identification of fungi. Most bacterial heterotrophs rely on dissolved organic material for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus requirements. This material ultimately comes from primary producers and can vary considerably in stoichiometry. Many fungi are able to utilize polysaccharides, such as cellulose, starches, and various hemicelluloses. Galactose, mannose, and fructose can be used by many fungi. The monosaccharide d-glucose is utilized by essentially all fungi and is a common carbon source in many cultural media. The oligosaccharides maltose, cellobiose, and sucrose are also good carbon sources for many fungi.
Heterotrophic cultivation overcomes the light supply predicament of photoautotrophy, and in the present scenario, it can be easily adapted for commercial-scale production of biomass. In addition, heterotrophic cultivation is metabolically favorable for higher lipid accumulation and would be beneficial in biodiesel production.
We have established a mature technical platform to culture various microorganisms that can be isolated from readily available sources. For heterotrophic growth, we have established microbial cell factories, i.e., Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and the fungus Yarrowia lipolytica. If you are interested in our heterotrophs cultivation services, please contact us for more details.