NCERT Class 7 Science Nutrition in Plants

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1 Nutrition in Plants

In Class VI you learnt that food is essential for all living organisms. You also learnt that carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals are components of food. These components of food are necessary for our body and are called nutrients. All living organisms require food. Plants can make their food themselves but animals including humans cannot. They get it from plants or animals that eat plants. Thus, humans and animals are directly or indirectly dependent on plants.


Plants are the only organisms that can prepare food for themselves by using water, carbon dioxide and minerals. The raw materials are present in their surroundings. The nutrients enable living organisms to build their bodies, to grow, to repair damaged parts of their bodies and provide the energy to carry out life processes. Nutrition is the mode of taking food by an organism and its utilisation by the body. The mode of nutrition in which organisms make food themselves from simple substances is called autotrophic (auto = self; trophos = nourishment) nutrition. Therefore, plants are called autotrophs. Animals and most other organisms take in ready made food prepared by the plants. They are called heterotrophs (heteros = other).

Now we may ask where the food factories of plants are located: whether food is made in all parts of a plant or only in certain parts? How do plants obtain the raw materials from the surroundings? How do they transport them to the food factories of the plants?


Leaves are the food factories of plants. The synthesis of food in plants occurs in leaves. Therefore, all the raw materials must reach there. Water and minerals present in the soil are absorbed by the roots and transported to the leaves. Carbon dioxide from air is taken in through the tiny pores present on the surface of the leaves. These pores are surrounded by ‘guard cells’. Such pores are called stomata [Fig. 1.2 (c)].

Water and minerals are transported to the leaves by the vessels which run like pipes throughout the root, the stem, the branches and the leaves. They form a continuous path or passage for the nutrients to reach the leaf. You will learn about transport of materials in plants in Chapter 11.


1. Why do organisms need to take food?

2. Distinguish between a parasite and a saprotroph.

3. How would you test the presence of starch in leaves?

4. Give a brief description of the process of synthesis of food in green plants.

5. Show with the help of a sketch that the plants are the ultimate source of food.

6. Fill in the blanks:

(a) Green plants are called _________________ since they synthesise their own food.

(b) The food synthesised by the plants is stored as _________________.

(c) In photosynthesis solar energy is captured by the pigment called ___________.

(d) During photosynthesis plants take in ______________________ and release __________________.

7. Name the following:

(i) A parasitic plant with yellow, slender and tubular stem.

(ii) A plant that has both autotrophic and heterotrophic mode of nutrition.

(iii) The pores through which leaves exchange gases.

8. Tick the correct answer:

(a) Amarbel is an example of:

(i) autotroph    (ii) parasite    (iii) saprotroph   (iv) host

(b) The plant which traps and feeds on insects is:

(i) cuscuta     (ii) china rose   (iii) pitcher plant     (iv) rose

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