Before entering fully into the exhaustive definition of amoeba, it is worth knowing its etymological origin. In this case, it must be stated that this is a term that comes from the scientific Latin, specifically “amoeba”. A word this which, in turn, derives from the Greek “amoibe”, which can be translated as “transmutation” or “change”.
According to DigoPaul, an amoeba is a protozoan: an organism of microscopic size that has a single cell or a set of cells that are identical to each other. In the specific case of the amoeba, it is a protist organism (it is a eukaryote but does not enter the classification of animal, plant or fungus) and rhizopod (to move and feed, it emits pseudopods).
There are multiple species of amoebas, which can inhabit wet soil, water or even animals (acting, in this case, as parasites). The main characteristic of the amoeba is that, since it does not have a cell wall, its shape changes.
Discovered in the mid- 18th century, amoebas can be easily obtained and stored. That is why its presence in laboratories for the development of research is frequent.
In its structure, the nucleus, the cytoplasm (composed of endoplasm and ectoplasm) and various organelles can be seen. The pseudopods they emit are extensions of their cytoplasm, which are tentacle-like. In addition to moving, these pseudopods allow them to capture their food and give way to phagocytosis.
Amoebae also have a contractile-type vacuole that helps them maintain stable osmotic pressure. Through this vacuole, the amoeba captures the surplus water from the cell and, from time to time, sends it outside through the cytoplasmic membrane.
To reproduce, amoebas appeal to binary fission: their genetic material, through mitosis, is duplicated as the cell spreads. The cytoplasm, in this process, undergoes a division and two cells arise.
Other important aspects that are worth knowing about the amoeba are the following:
-It is considered to reproduce every minute.
-Among the best-known amoebas and the ones that generate the most controversy is the Up Amoeba, which is in charge of causing amoebic dysentery. This is a disease that manifests itself through vomiting, liver and colon injuries, as well as severe diarrhea.
It is important to know that the aforementioned dysentery is one of the most serious consequences of the most well-known disease caused by amoebas, which is the so-called amoebiasis. This was discovered in the second half of the 19th century and is considered to be the third deadliest parasitic pathology, along with schistosomiasis and malaria.
It occurs because amoebae lodge in the large intestine, where they produce all kinds of ulcerations. It is also important to know that it is spread through contaminated hands, food and water.
Bloody stools, severe abdominal pain and pictures where constipation alternates with diarrhea are the main symptoms of amebiasis, which can be suffered for years.