The protozoans are unicellular microscopic organisms. These are also called single-celled eukaryotic organisms. These are found in water, soil, plants, glaciers, lakes, oceans, terrestrial environments, etc. Even though they seem to be very small in their appearance, they have a significant role and help to provide food for human beings as well as other organisms. The ecological and industrial importance of protozoans is considerable. The protozoans help in many ways and maintain a classical balance which helps for the sustainability of all living beings.
Usually, they grow from 10 to 52 micrometres. To a maximum extent, they can grow up to one millimetre. Cilia and the flagella are two organs of protozoa that help them to move from one place to another. They feed on other microorganisms, which is known as phagocytosis. They also feed on organic matter. Some special protozoans can prepare their food through photosynthesis. They are known as autotrophs. Reproduction is through binary fission and multiple fusion on protozoans.
Scientists had found nearly 30,000 different species in the biosphere as of now. These protozoans are able to survive in sweltering conditions and extreme cold conditions. They can transform themselves into dormant cysts. As we know that the protozoans are beneficial, and a few of them were harmful to humankind. Let's see the ecological and industrial importance of protozoans in detail.
The beneficial protozoa are also known as phylum protozoa. It plays a predominant role in helping ecologically and industrially. The key benefits which explain the ecological and industrial importance of protozoans are listed below-
It is an indirect benefit caused by protozoa. Usually, the protozoa enter into dirty and polluted water and feed themselves by depending on the bacteria. By killing all those bacteria, water becomes purified and valuable for drinking. In this way, a vast number of protozoans help in sanitation. As drinking water is essential for the survival of human beings, the protozoans help humankind.
Planktonic protozoa acts as food. It provides food to both humankind and the fishes. They act as a resource of food both directly and indirectly. Protozoans play a predominant role in the food chain. Larvae, small crustaceans, worms, etc., can feed with the help of protozoans. The fishes in the ocean can feed on these organisms. The man can eat fish. In this way, it provides for the two various kinds of living organisms.
The symbiotic protozoa helps in the digestion process. Usually, the Trichonympha and Colonymphya, etc., are different species of protozoa that live in the guts of termites. They mainly digest cellulose. The host can use the digested cellulose. These specific protozoans maintain symbiotic relationships with other organisms where they are dependent on each other. Both partners of a symbiotic relationship can live for a long time if they are living together. Otherwise, both partners may die.
Pelagic Foraminiferida, Radiolaria and Heliozoa, etc., are some species of protozoa. The skeletal deposits of these protozoans are found in the bottom layers of the sea. These tiny skeletons were converted into oceanic ooze or soft mud. Again they turn into sedimentary rocks because the skeleton has some amounts of calcium carbonate and silica. They are filtering agents, abrasives, chalk, building stones, etc. which are made up of sedimentary rocks. In this way, the protozoans have industrial importance after their death also.
Some species of protozoa provide limestone rocks. These limestone rocks are widely used in building materials. In this way, different species of protozoa help in different commercial uses. These benefits can help us to understand the ecological and industrial importance of protozoa.
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Protozoans play a vital role in scientific study. Several scientists and geneticists prefer these protozoans to do various research in biological laboratories. Because they have tiny structures, and their reproduction is also excellent and fast. These generations of protozoans were used to study the evolution of a living organism and to study genetic changes and genetic disorders etc. The physiology of a cell was discovered with the help of these protozoans only.
While understanding the ecological and Industrial importance of protozoans, another vital aspect is oil exploration. The marine species of Foraminifera and Radiolaria have oil deposits. Hence, the protozoa help in the exploration of oil.
Hence, the protozoa seem to be minute organisms but have a significant role in several fields. The ecological and Industrial importance of protozoans can't be restricted to a single article. They provide benefits to all living organisms even after death. They help humanity directly and indirectly.
Q1. Explain the Classification of Protozoans?
Ans. The protozoans are classified into various types. Based on the type of cellular appendage, the classification had taken place.
Ciliates: The type of protozoans that use cilia as their locomotion.
Amoeboids: The type of protozoans that have pseudopodia.
Flagellates: Flagellates are another kind of protozoans that use flagellum.
Sporozoans: The non-motile protozoans which can reproduce using spores are known as the sporozoans.
These are the various types of protozoans research by several scientists. Besides all these variations, some other protozoans have animal-like structure, reproduction systems, etc.
Q2. Are Protozoa Helpful or Harmful?
Ans. Protozoa are beneficial. Different types of protozoa have different benefits. But some species may cause some diseases to the human body. Apart from those protozoans, remaining all other species of protozoans provide several ecological benefits and Industrial benefits. They purify drinking water, and they provide food to humankind through directly and indirectly. Even the Marine protozoans also help in multiple ways. The dead protozoans are used for research, and the skeleton produces sedimentary rocks, limestone rocks, etc. It is like a balancing quality. As much as the beneficial protozoans help the living organisms, few harmful protozoans may harm the survival of human beings accordingly.