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About Protozoan

by Kristina Kaye Maglabe

What is protozoa? Protozoan are species that are single-celled that act like animals. They are eukaryotic and mobile. They have the ability to move unlike most microorganisms in existence. The classifications for these are quite complicated and extensive. Some of them need their own Kingdom as they are quite diverse and different from the others. They were supposed to be a part of the Protista family in the past.

They were often compared to algae and other fungus like slime molds. Due to their physical structure, protozoa were changed into an animal-like Protista. The main cause for this classification is the ability of a protozoon to move and scavenge food from other living organisms. The most common Protozoon is the Amoeba. Most protozoa can be seen through an electron microscope. Protozoa that are destructive attacks on a cellular level. An early detection and prevention is a must.

They act and look like animals and plants. They can be mistaken for fungal species as well. They are microscopic in size. They can grow from 10 to 52 micrometers. Some can grow up to 1mm. Deep see protozoan can have a body as long as 20 centimeters. Protozoa can be described as having flagella or cilia. Some even have pseudopodia that look like feet. These allow a protozoon to move. Others can also be immobile even with the appendages. It also allows a protozoon to transfer from one organism to another without the help of a vector.

As a survival instinct, they cover themselves in a protective seal when they are about to dry out. They do this when they are on land. They only thrive in damp areas. This is the reason why protozoan are mostly found in water. They are often found in oceans, seas and fresh water. A humid environment is perfect for this unicellular species. They can also be found in the wet areas on multi-cellular organisms. Whether on land, sea or air, expect a protozoon to survive. It is like a cockroach of the microorganisms strong against almost anything that comes to it.

Though found on other organisms, protozoa are relatively harmless. Only a few of them can cause diseases. Micro invertebrates consume protozoa. They can be predators against other microorganisms like algae, bacteria, virus and fungi. The most common diseases that a protozoon causes on humans are malaria, amoebiasis, sleeping sickness and dysentery.

Protozoa can be proliferates and cysts in their lifetime. Being cysts, protozoa can survive any extreme condition. From chemicals, weather and temperature, a cystic protozoa can be resilient. This process of encystations can be very beneficial to these species as the protective cover acts as a shield against anything harmful in the environment that surrounds it.

A protozoon can be good or bad for you and your plant. You just have to identify which one is which. It is the difference of having a healthy harvest at the end of the season or you being in a hospital bed. Since most Protozoa are microscopic, battling the detrimental effects in a more aggressive way.