TOP: Nassula ornata, 40x - by Tatcher a Hainu.
COLORFUL DIGESTION IN A SINGLE CELLED ORGANISM
Nassula is a genus of single cell protists with cilia. It has a basket-like feeding apparatus (nasse, or cyrtos) made up of rods which are themselves composed of closely packed microtubules.
Nassula use this feeding basket to ingest cyanobacteria, drawing individual strands of blue-green algae through the cytopharynx and into the body of the cell, where they are digested. As the algae are broken down, the food vacuoles containing them change their color with the digestion progress from green, to purple, to brown, to gold.