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What is the difference between plant and animal nutrition?


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January 29, 2012 7:12PM

Plants make their own food while animals have to rely on the plants or other animals for food.

In photosynthesis,plants convert carbon dioxide and water (in the presence of light energy and chlorophyll) to glucose, water and oxygen. Hence, the end products of plant nutrition are actually glucose and oxygen. On the other hand, in animal nutrition, large food molecules are broken down into smaller soluble molecules. In humans, proteins are broken down into amino acids, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, fructose and galactose while fats are broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. Thus, the end products of animal/human nutrition would be amino acids, simple sugars/ monosaccharides, fatty acids and glycerol.

The features/ organs involved in the nutrition in plants are also different from that in animals. In plant nutrition, features in the leaf which play important parts include the petiole (leaf stalk), thin flat lamina, cuticle on upper and lower epidermis, stomata, chloroplasts, air spaces in the spongy mesophyll and veins containing xylem and phloem. In contrast, the features/ organs involved in animal/ human nutrition include the mouth, buccal cavity, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and the large intestine.

Plant and human nutrition is a really big topic that cannot be fully explained over the internet. It would be much wiser to look up books, especially encyclopedias and textbooks for the advanced learners, for a more detailed explanation.