Scanning electron microscopic observations of feeding plasmodia show three characteristic features: 1) extension of multilobed pseudopodia protruding from the leading edge of the plasmodium as it advances onto the surface of a food particle, 2) confluence of the lobes to form a sheath-like pseudopodium attached to the surface of the food particle, and 3) protrusion of small nodules with thin lamellar projections from the leading edge of the plasmodium. Sections through freeze-dried preparations of the feeding plasmodium exhibit a highly convoluted under surface in contact with loosened starch grains that appear to be released by extracellular digestion. The cytoplasm, viewed by transmission electron microscopy, contains branched, internally penetrating canals (ca. 2 mum wide) enclosing engulfed starch grains. Starch grains in the deeper part of the canals are more electron dense and appear to be digested. Micropseudopodia (70-80 nm dia.), projecting from the surface of the canals, protrude toward and into the ingested starch grains. Digestive marker enzyme (acid phosphatase) activity was detected cytochemically in food particles penetrated by micropseudopodia indicating a digestive role for these structures not reported previously.
Kq688Times Cited:3Cited References Count:24