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General characteristics of protozoa

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protozoa - characteristics and classification - harmful and beneficial protozoans

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General characteristics of protozoa

  1. 1. by, K.ThangaMallika I M.Sc., Microbiology
  2. 2. PROTOZOA  Protozoa are a diverse group of unicellular eukaryotic organisms.  The word “protozoa” by coined by GEORG AUGUST GOLDFUSS in 1818.  They are heterotrophic organisms and they donot have chlorophyll. eg: Amoeba, paramecium, euglena.
  3. 3. CHARACTERISTICS  A protozoan body consists of only mass of protoplasm, so they are called acellular or non-cellular animals.  HABITAT - mostly aquatic, either free living or parasitic.  SIZE - most protozoans are in the size of 1 to 10 micrometer long, but Balantidium coli may measure 150 micrometer.
  4. 4.  BODY- body of protozoa is either naked or covered by a pellicle.  LOCOMOTION- locomotary organ are pseudopodia or cilia or absent.  NUTRITION - nutrition are holophytic (like plant) or holozoic (like animal) or saprophytic or parasitic.  DIGESTION - digestion is intracellular, occurs in food vacoules.
  5. 5.  RESPIRATION - respiration occurs through the body surface.  OSMOREGULATION – contractile vacoules helps in osmoregulation.  In most protozoa, the cytoplasm is differentiated into ectoplasm (the outer, transparent layer) and endoplasm (the inner layer containing organelles).  The structure of cytoplasm is mostly seen in species with projecting pseudopodia, such as amoebas.
  6. 6.  REPRODUCTION - reproduction occurs by both sexual and asexual reproduction.  Asexual - usually by binary fission.  Sexual - happens by Conjugation .  NUCLEUS - Nucleus may be compact with diffuse chromatin or vesicular with central or eccentric karyosome (DNA) and peripheral chromatin (RNA).  RESPIRATION – respiration is mostly anaerobic.
  7. 7. CLASSIFICATION OF PROTOZOA
  8. 8. SPOROZOA  Commonly parasitic on vertebrate animals.  Locomotory organ and contractile vacuoles are absent.  Body covered with pellicle.  Exclusively endoparasites.  Reproduction by means of asexual and sexual.  Examples: Plasmodium, Monocystis.
  9. 9. CILIOPHORA  Complex freshwater or saltwater protozoan.  It swims by the coordinated beating of their cilia.  Nuclei is of two types: micronucleus and macronucleus.  Body is covered by pellicle.  Examples: Paramecium, Voricella.
  10. 10. RHIZOPODA  These are amoeboid organisms that produce false pseudopodia.  It preys on fungi , other protists and small invertebrates.  Reporduction by means of sexual and asexual.  Mostly free living, some are parasitic.  Examples: Amoeba, Entamoeba.
  11. 11. ZOOMASTIGOPHORA  It is characterised by one or more flagella.  Free living or parasite.  Body covered with cellulose, chitin or silica.  Sexual reproduction occurs by longitudinal fission.  Examples: Trypnosoma.
  12. 12. ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF PROTOZOA Protozoans are classified into two types based on their activites.  Harmful protozoa  Beneficial protozoa
  13. 13. BENEFICIAL PROTOZOA  Food - Protozoa provide food for insect larvae and worms, which are taken by fishes and crabs and which are eated by man.  Insect control - Several protozoa control harmful insects by persisting their bodies.  Helpful in Sanitation - A large number of protozoa living in polluted water feed upon organic matters and thus purify it.
  14. 14.  Oil exploration - Petroleum is organic origin. The skeletal deposit of Forminifera and Radiolaria are often found in association with oil deposits. In this means, they help in the exact location of oil.  Scientific study - Many protozoa are used in biological and medical researches.
  15. 15. HARMFUL PROTOZOA  Pollution of water - Drinking water in natural condition is made unpalatable by the reproduction of some free living protozoa in it.  Destruction of wooden articles - Some flagellater like Trichonympha and Colonympha live in the gut of termites and help in cellular digestion.  Reduction in Fertility of soil - Protozoans feed on nitrogen fixing bacteria thus reduce the fertility of soil.
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protozoa - characteristics and classification - harmful and beneficial protozoans

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