autotrophy - (n.)

Literally, self-feeding : the capacity of an organism to obtain its essential nutrients by synthesizing non organic materials such as carbon dioxide, molecular nitrogen or nitrate, sulfate, and so on from the environment, rather than by consuming organic materials; photosynthetic green plants and chemosynthetic bacteria are examples of autotrophic organisms. ~ See Also: Chemoautotrophy, Heterotrophy, Phototrophy.