Copyright

What is Auxotrophy?

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson is going to explain auxotrophy. You'll find out what organisms this involves, how they differ from prototrophs, and what they need to properly grow.

Supplements

There's a huge craze that's been happening around the world for the better part of several decades. It's the craze of popping all sorts of supplements for one thing or another. Many doctors say we really don't need those supplements so long as we eat a normal diet. That's because with a normal diet, our body will have enough nutrients to help us grow or keep us healthy.

Of course, some people may have inadequate diets or even health conditions that may require the use supplements to properly grow. Believe it or not, some similar things can be said with respect to microscopic organisms.

You're about to find out how this is the case on this lesson on auxotrophy and exactly what that is.

What is Auxotrophy?

Auxotrophy is a term that refers to a situation where an organism cannot make a compound that is required for its growth. In other words, it needs to pop a few supplement pills in order to grow.

The term comes to us from 'auxo-', which actually stems from the Greek auxano, meaning to increase. The suffix of '-trophy' refers to the Greek word trophe, which means food or nutrition. So, by literal word part by word part translation an auxotroph is an organism requiring increased nourishment. This is usually said with respect to a comparison to another organism or, in general, with respect to an idea like increased nourishment for overall growth regardless of any other comparison to another organism.

Comparison to Prototrophs

Moreover, auxotrophy is often used to describe mutant strains, strains of bacteria, algae, or fungi, which differ from the original wild-type strains. These wild or parental organisms are able to synthesize an organic compound, like an amino acid, required for its growth.

As a result, these parental strains are able to grow on minimal media or media lacking any supplements. Organisms carrying the same nutritional characteristics and metabolic capabilities as the wild-type/parental strain are known as prototrophs.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support