5 Facts On Food Vacuole In Paramecium (Formation, Function)

Food vacuoles are single-layered membrane structures that are present in the cytoplasm of all living things, including plants, animals, and protists.

Food vacuoles in paramecium are formed when the membrane of the discoid vesicle merges with the cytopharyngeal membrane. It is a compartment in a cell that is entirely devoid of cytoplasm. Phagosomes and pinosomes combine with lysosomes to generate food vacuoles.

Let us check different facts related to food vacuoles in detail.

Where are food vacuoles found in paramecium?

Cells of plants, protists, mammals, and fungi all have food vacuoles. Let us see where food vacuoles are found in paramecium.

The food vacuoles of paramecium are encapsulated within the cell’s cytoplasm, which are spherical portions of the plasma membrane. This closed bag of vacuole comprised of membranes and enzymes They catch or contain food particles as they enter the cell.

How are food vacuoles formed in paramecium?

A paramecium has one to several vacuoles near the cell’s ends, close to the surface. Let us see how food vacuoles form in paramecium in brief.

When the membrane of the discoid vesicle merges with the cytopharyngeal membrane in Paramecium, food vacuoles are generated. The cytoplasm digests and takes in the food. Phagosomes and endosomes join with lysosomes to generate food vacuoles.

Food vacuole functions in paramecium

A membrane-enclosed sac with a digestive function is called a food vacuole. It is found in protozoans with one cell, Let us see different functions in detail.

  • The food vacuole of paramecium do function as an intracellular stomach, breaking down the consumed food.
  • A membrane-bound cell organelle known as the food vacuole or digestive vacuole has a role in digestion. They have the digestive enzymes necessary to assist in breaking down nutrients.
  • Through the process of phagocytosis, paramecium suck up the food material, and this vacuole then breaks down the food that has been consumed.
  • Paramecia break down starch, fat, and protein. During the alkaline stage of the food vacuole, digestion occurs.
  • The cytoplasmic fluid that enters the food vacuole during its fast growth carries the enzymes involved, which are found in the cytoplasm, into the vacuole
  • Phagocytosis or pinocytosis is the method used by protozoans like paramecium to consume their food.
  • When phagocytosis occurs, the surrounding pseudopodia catch the food particles, which then engulf them inside the cell and form phagosomes.
  • As a result of paramecium fusion with lysosomes, food vacuoles contain hydrolysing enzymes. Enzymes that hydrolyze substances break down the food.
  • After breakdown, the amino acids, sugar, and other byproducts are distributed into the cytosol. As a result, food consumed is broken down and absorbed.
  • The way that succulent plants open their stomata and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at night is an example of how the food vacuole accomplishes the metabolic function.
  • Malic acid will subsequently be created from this and kept in vacuoles till the next day. Light energy can be used to transform it into sugar during the day.
  • The food vacuoles in paramecium also have roles in the balance of the pH of fungal cells and the storage of amino acids.
  • The food vacuoles in paramecium typically function in animal cells by assisting in exocytosis and endocytosis. Because of the massive growth, food vacuoles enable organs or sprouting plants to grow quickly.

Food vacuole structure in paramecium

When the membrane of the discoid vesicle merges with cytopharyngeal membrane, food vacuoles are generated. Let us see the structure of the food vacuole through the diagram below.

Unicellular protozoans like plasmodium, amoeba, and others have vacuoles. It is a fluid-filled membrane having linings. Typically, vacuoles are cytoplasmic organs. They carry out tasks include ingesting, storing, digesting, ejecting, and excreting extra water.

610px Paramecium
Image Credits: Food vacuole structure by
Barfooz (CC BY-SA 3.0)


From the above article, it can be concluded that, having a digestive role, the food vacuole is a membrane-enclosed sac. They function like a stomach within the cell, breaking down the food that has been consumed.

Read more about 5 Facts on Food vacuole in animal cell.

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