SPM Biology Form 4 Notes – Nutrition (Part I)

by BerryBerryTeacher

in Berry Reference (Notes)

Nutrition is the all-important process which is why all Berry Readers are still alive and checking out our website. It is a process of obtaining the “materials” (food) to sustain life and growth. While students will most likely only think of human-edible food, the subtopics covering SPM Biology Form 4 is more than that. So this Part 1 of the new series on Nutrition for SPM Form 4 Biology by Berry Berry Easy is focussed on the types of nutrition and some basic definitions. Here, you’ll learn about self-sustaining autotrophs and the more reliant heterotrophs.

[Tips: Sometimes students make the mistake of not considering photoautotroph and chemoautotroph as a subset of autotrophs. Similarly, some students also fail to acknowledge that saprophyte, holozoic, carnivourous plants, parasites are subset of heterotrophs as they do not contain the word 'hetero' or 'trophs'. This is wrong and it'll be useful to draw a family tree inclusive of examples to properly categorise the categories.]

SPM Biology Form 4 Notes – Nutrition (Part I)



Type of Nutrition

  • Nutrition – process by which organisms obtain energy and nutrients from food, for growth, maintenance and repair of damaged tissues.
  • Nutrients – the important substances which are required for nourishment of an organisms.
  • Living organisms are divided into two groups (based on the nutritional habits): autotrophs and heterotrophs.

(i) Autotroph

  • Autotrophs – organisms that are able to synthesise complex organic compounds from raw, simple inorganic substances (water and air) by using light or chemical energy. These organisms manufacture their own food by photosynthesis or chemosynthesis.
  • Photoautotrophs – chlorophyll containing organisms that utilise solar energy for building organic substance.
  • Photoautotropic nutrition = holophytic nutrition.
  • Chemoautotrophs – organisms synthesise organic substances by utilising chemical energy.
Autotrophs Example
Photoautotroph Trees
Chemoautotroph Bacteria

(ii) Heterotroph

  • Heterotrophs – organisms that are not able to synthesise their own nutrients but they obtain the nutrients from other organisms.
  • Holozoic nutrition – organisms feed by ingesting solid organic matter that digested and absorbed into the bodies.
  • Saprophytism – organisms feed on dead and decaying organic matter.
  • Parasitism – organisms obtains nutrients (absorbs readily digested food) by living on / in the body of another living organisms (the host)

Heterotrophs Example
Saprophyte Fungi
Holozoic nutrition Carnivores
Carnivorous plants (Holozoic nutrition) Venus traps and pitcher plants
Parasites Lice and fleas

This ends Part 1 of the series of study notes by Berry Berry Easy on Nutrition for SPM Biology Form 4 students. In the next part, Berry Readers will learn about balanced diet and the seven important classes of food for SPM-level biology. So do stay tuned.

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