Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Carbon Source

  • Felipe Gomez
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_231-2


Carbon source refers to any carbon-containing molecule (carbohydrate, amino acid, fatty acid, CO2) used by an organism for the synthesis of its organic molecules. Carbon is a basic element for sustaining life as we know it and the main element in all classes of macromolecules. All cells require carbon as a major nutrient. On a dry weight basis, a typical cell is 50 % carbon. Depending on their carbon source, organisms are either heterotrophs, requiring one or more organic compounds as their carbon source, or autotrophs, where CO2 is the carbon source.

See Also


Carbon Dioxide Carbon Source Organic Compound Bioorganic Chemistry Organic Molecule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC/INTA)Instituto Nacional de Técnica AeroespacialTorrejón de Ardoz, MadridSpain