Q:

How does an amoeba ingest large food particles?

A:

Quick Answer

As amoebas themselves are microscopic, they can only ingest other microscopic food particles, such as algae, bacteria, decaying plant or animal matter and other single cell organisms. Large food particles would be impossible for amoebas to digest. Amoeba feed by latching on to the suitable item, then surrounding and engulfing the food within the amoeba's body.

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Full Answer

In order to grab the food particle, the amoeba uses a body part known as a pseudopod, which it can stretch out from the main part of its body. The pseudopod is probably the most important part of the amoeba cell, as the organism also moves by stretching out this body part to pull itself along. The other primary part of the cell is the cytoplasm, a jelly-like liquid substance that fills the cell.

When the amoeba pulls the food into its body, the cytoplasm inside the cell surrounds the food particle and stores it with a drop of water in the food vacuole. The cytoplasm secretes digestive enzymes into the food vacuole that break down the softer parts of the prey. Once this happens, the soluble nutrients are absorbed into the cytoplasm. As the amoeba moves forward, the cytoplasm releases any parts that have not been dissolved.

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