2 Organelles Found In Plant Cells But Not Animal Cells How Do Protozoans Obtain Their Nutrition?

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How Do Protozoans Obtain Their Nutrition?

Nature includes alluring, fascinating organisms imaginable. These creatures can range from the smallest protozoa to the largest mammals. All creatures require food for energy. The method of food capture varies among different taxa. The way protozoa devour their prey is also magnificent. The feeding mechanism is also amazing. Nutrition is a process of taking food and digesting it and assimilating it to get energy. The ways in which protozoa obtain their food also vary drastically. They represent almost every type of food. They can be holozoic, holophytic, parasitic, coprozoic, mixotrophic, saprozoic.

1. Holozoic nutrition

Most protozoa feed in the same way as higher organisms. They are able to feed on various microorganisms, rotifers, crustaceans, other protozoa, etc. Such protozoa are called Holozoic. They can be carnivores, herbivores, omnivores or scavengers. Holozoic nutrition is also referred to as zootrophic nutrition. This type of food includes three basic steps:

A. Grasping and swallowing food

The regular method of obtaining food is also called phagocytosis, which varies greatly in different classes of protozoa. Locomotor organelles play an important role in grasping and swallowing food. Rhumbler has defined four methods in which the locomotor organelles participate in the capture and ingestion of food.

a. entourage

This method is very common Amoeba. Here the prey is surrounded by locomotor organelles called pseudopodia on all sides without coming into direct contact with the prey and a cup is formed. The food cup is later completed by forming a food vacuole that encloses the prey with a large amount of water.

b. round

This method is aided by locomotor organelles called axopodia and reticulopodia for capturing stationary prey. A food cup is formed by direct contact with the prey and the cytoplasm flows around the prey to engulf it.

c. Intussusception

In this case, the prey is first killed by a toxin secreted by the pseudopodia and then enclosed in the form of a food vacuole together with the cytoplasm.

d. imports

In this case, passive prey such as filamentous algae is simply drawn into the body upon contact and ingested. The total surface area of ​​the body plays an important role in this process.

B. Digestion and assimilation

Digestion is always intracellular. The food vacuole is surrounded by a film. Acids, alkalis and enzymes are poured over the food to ensure digestion. The reaction is first acidic and then alkaline. The prey is killed in an acid environment which lasts 4-60 minutes. Digestion mostly occurs in the alkaline phase. Digestive enzymes are assisted by lysosomes. Protein-cleaving proteases and starch-cleaving amylases are of wide occurrence. The presence of lipase for fat breakdown is controversial.

C. Egestion

In naked forms such as Amoeba, undigested matter is expelled from the lower part of the body. In some ciliates absorption occurs through a permanent opening present at the posterior end of the body called a cytopyge.

2. Holophytic food

This way of feeding is also called as autotrophic food. This is very common in flagella that carry chlorophyll. These organisms carry out photosynthesis with the help of carbon dioxide, water and chlorophyll. Oxygen is released and the carbon left is used to make food. Starch is stored in the form of amyl but in Euglena it is stored in the form of para-amyl which is not colored blue with iodine. Some protozoa host symbiotic green algae that carry out photosynthesis and provide food for them.

3. Saprozoic food

This way of feeding is also called osmotrophy. Here the flagella that are in direct contact with the organic matter of decomposing plants and animals get their food. They get their food in the form of digested material.

4. Pinocytosis

This is also called cell drinking. It was first studied by Mast and Doyle in 1934 in Amoeba proteus. Pinocytotic channels are formed in the body for the absorption of liquid food from the surrounding environment. This method helps the organism in obtaining higher molecular compounds from the surrounding environment.

5. Parasitic nutrition

Sporozoans are completely parasitic and obtain their nutrition by living as parasites in the body of other animals. They are divided into two categories:

a. Commensal

They feed on the raw or digested matter of the host in a saprozoic manner. They are harmless endocommensals. E.g., Nyctotherus, Balantidium

b. Pathogenic

About 26 species of protozoa are known to be parasitic on humans. They are responsible for causing terrible diseases like sleeping sickness, malaria etc.

6. Coprozoic food

Many free-living protozoa feed on the feces of other animals and are called coprozoans. For example, Cercomonas etc.

7. Mixotrophic nutrition

Some protozoa are able to obtain their food in more than one way. Euglena gracilis is able to obtain both holophytic and saprozoic food.

Whatever may be the means of eating food, it all leads to adaptation to the colossal environment.

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