Paramecium collects the food into its mouth by cilia. Through phagocytosis, the food is packed into food vacuoles for digestion
Paramecia eat microorganisms that are smaller than them, like bacteria, algae, and yeasts. A single paramecium has the ability to eat 5,000 bacteria a day. As the paramecium moves forward, rotating around its own axis, food materials (like bacteria and algae) flow closer to the opening of the oral groove. To gather the food, the paramecium uses its oral cilia lining the oral groove to sweep the food along with some water into its cell mouth. The food goes through the cell mouth (cytostome) into the gullet (cytopharynx). Through a process known as phagocytosis, the food is packed into food vacuoles for digestion.
The food vacuoles then fuse with lysosomes, and the enzymes enter the vacuole to digest the food contents. The nutrient molecules from digested food then go into the cytoplasm and the vacuole gets smaller and smaller. Once the vacuole reaches the anal pore with all of its digested nutrients, it ruptures and spills all of its waste material into the environment.
[In this figure] The feeding system of a paramecium.
The red arrows indicate the process of feeding and digestion.
This article covers
- How does a paramecium reproduce? – Life cycle of paramecia
- Aging – Does paramecium get older?
- Paramecia are also good landlords – Endosymbiotic relationship and Endosymbionts
- How does a paramecium move?
- How does a paramecium eat?
- How does a paramecium breathe?
- Does a paramecium have cytoplasmic streaming?
- What senses do paramecium have?
- Does a paramecium have learning and memory?
- Can paramecia communicate?