Organisms require a source of major and trace elements. Heterotrophs use an organic carbon source, and autotrophs use CO2. Bacteria lacking ability to synthesize certain small molecules require these for growth. Phototrophs harvest the energy of sunlight, and chemotrophs obtain energy by degrading chemicals.

■ List the major elements other than carbon required for growth of bacteria.

■ What is the carbon source of a photoautotroph? Of a chemoautotroph?

■ Why would human-made materials (such as plastics) be degraded only slowly or not at all? _

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