Electron Microscope In Protozoan Research Biology Essay

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Protozoa are single-celled organisms that primarily live in water or sometimes human pathogens. They are mostly microscopic organisms and also are the smallest of animals. The protozoans are mainly well-known for causing a lot of diseases. Most of the time, they occur in developing countries where the hygiene is not something they pay that much attention to.

These days, there are many diseases caused by protozoa and other kinds of microorganisms. The protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum is the deadliest of the four Plasmodium species that cause human malaria. Malaria is on number two in the list of the world's biggest killer diseases after tuberculosis. Approximately 300 million medical cases occur every year, resulting in between 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths, and the majority takes place in the sub-Saharan part of Africa. Surveys estimated that roughly 3,000 children under the age of five become the victim to malaria every 24 hours. Right now, it is said that 40 % of the world population are at risk, and the percentage may even get higher due to the unstoppable global climate change. The societies and their economic development of some of the world's misfortunate countries are intensely affected by malaria.

Another example of harmful protozoan is Balantidium coli, the only protozoan and currently the largest organism in this group in terms of size, are a pathogen*. Although B coli is believed to feed on the contents of host intestines, sometimes they attack the host large intestine and cause ulcers. Balantidiasis is often is followed by dysentery or diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting.


"Micro-organisms - What are Protozoa?". The Children's University of Manchester. May 25, 2010 <http://www.childrensuniversity.manchester.ac.uk/interactives/science/microorganisms/whatareprotozoa.asp>.

"Plasmodium falciparum Genome Projects". Sanger Institute. May 25, 2010 <http://www.sanger.ac.uk/Projects/P_falciparum/>.

Baron, Samuel. "Balantidium coli". Medical Microbiology. May 25, 2010 <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=mmed∂=A4225>.

The invention of the first electron microscope in 1933 has played an influential role in the world of scientific imaging, when Ernst Ruska invented the first electron microscope. The world's scientific research has been improving ever since. One of the most significant researches was the invention of a synthetic vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum by the Colombian microbiologist M.E. Pattarroyo.

Electron microscopes are scientific equipments that use a beam of truly "excited" electrons to observe objects in a really excellent scale. An observation using electron microscope can give information about the texture of an object (e.g. rigidity, reflectivity, etc.), morphology or the shape and size of the particles in the object (e.g. flexibility, strength, reactivity, etc.), the elements and compounds that the object is composed of and the relative amounts of them (e.g. reactivity, melting point, rigidity, etc.), and arrangement of atoms in the object (e.g. conductivity, electrical properties, etc.). They offer high quality electron digital images and micrographs detailed disease-related changes in organ tissue analysis. They provide the most eminent level of accuracy and rapidity in medical diagnosis for renal illness, metabolic unhealth, microbial detection, tumor diagnosis, and of course, protozoan malformation.


"Parasitology". Universität Würzburg. May 25, 2010 <http://parasitology.informatik.uni-wuerzburg.de/login/n/h/0661-0001_c.pdf>.

DOUGAL G. , McCULLOCH. "Electron Microscopy - Introduction, The Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Elemental Identification in Read more: Electron Microscopy - Introduction, The Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), The Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Elemental Identification in http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/1129/Electron-Microscopy.html#ixzz0p2wVzhUv". RMIT University. May 25, 2010 <http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/1129/Electron-Microscopy.html>.

Not only did the invention of electron microscope bear inventions, it also let scientists prove to people that they are wrong for having judged badly about the word protozoa by discovering the unexpected benefits of the protozoans. One, they are advantageous in Sanitation, because when a big number of protozoa living in dirty water feed on waste organic substances, they purify it at the same time. A number of holozoic* protozoa feed upon bacteria and play an important role in keeping water safe for drinking. Two, although so infinitely small, the protozoans are so abundant in number that they become sources of food supply to animals in the specific food chain. The protozoa are fed by insect larvae, worms, and crustaceans, which are gulp down by fish and other bigger animals, and this makes up the food of man. The marine foraminifers* and Radiolaria*, along with the remains, sink to the bottom of the ocean after they die, and form the fundamental food supply, because the dinoflagellates* compose a huge part of plankton, which is consumed by the aquatic animals. Certain types of the protozoans are even photosynthetic or are able to produce food for themselves, and can produce about eighty times as much food as the most fertile protein-producing harvest. There are also what is called as symbiotic protozoans like the Trichonympha* and Colonympha*, etc. which live in the termites' intestine and wood cockroaches' and aid in the absorption of cellulose, which is then transformed into glycogen to be used by the host. Protozoans are also used in commercial field. For example, the skeletal deposits of foramenifera and Radiolaria apparently develop oceanic sediment called ooze* at the bottom of the sea, which is then changed into useful rock strata by men.


"Can You Explain The Benefits Of Protozoa?". BlurtIt. May 25, 2010 <http://www.blurtit.com/q675338.html>.

A. F. Fagbenro- Beyioku, W. A. Oyibo, E. S. Onuoha, C. B. Ukaegbu & O. Ojuromi : Evaluation Of Microscopic Staining Techniques For The Diagnosis Of Opportunistic Protozoan Infections In A Developing Country . The Internet Journal of Tropical Medicine. 2007 Volume 3 Number 2

Despite the usefulness of electron microscope in the world of protozoa and research, it has the limitation of being very high in cost. For each electromagnetic coil or lens, they need absolutely high steady high voltage supplies and currents. They also need incessantly-pumped high vacuum systems and cooling water supply circulation in the lenses and pumps. Due to their high sensitivity to vibration and external magnetic fields, and the fact that they are pointed to achieve high resolutions, they should be housed in constructions with special services. And still, they are black and white in color, and they cannot detect movements - only still images. Moreover, it is not easy to train people to operate an electron microscope well, for it requires a special skill, and not everybody has that ability.

Therefore, it is now making sense that in developing countries such as those in Africa, where diseases caused by protozoa are perpetually spreading and producing new ones, they are very much lacking of electron microscopes. In short, these are where electron microscopes really needed, because the use of electron microscopes, scientists in the area can observe their morphology, hence capable to find what to do next (e.g. the making of antibiotics, etc.). Unfortunately, the laboratories in such nations are lacking in electron microscopy and microscopic biology facilities for the diagnosis of rapid infections.

Thus, it is too no surprise that majority of the world's developing countries cannot afford it. For example, in Indonesia, electron microscope is still regarded as a rare object, so it is no wonder that the research laboratories in this country are still considered as being left behind compared to the much more advanced countries such as the United States of America, which is very famous for the research labs.


"Microscopy". John Innes Center. May 25, 2010 <http://www.jic.ac.uk/microscopy/intro_em.html>.

"Electron Microscopy". University of Nebraska-Lincoln. May 25, 2010 <http://www.unl.edu/CMRAcfem/em.htm>.

Nonetheless, to sum it up, the invention of electron microscope is one of the most prominent phenomenons in the scientific world, especially in protozoan research. Even though it is pretty costly, it is worth the price. Even if it is for a developing country, if spending money on something expensive can improve the health of the population, then automatically, the nation will go to a better state of economy indirectly since they can now think well because of their good physical condition. So, it is necessary for every country to have an at least adequate number of electron microscopes in order to achieve a healthier physical and financial life of the citizens. To achieve healthy lifestyle of the citizens is one step towards development.



any disease-producing agent (especially a virus or bacterium or other microorganism) 


WordWeb 5.52


a flagellater that lives in the gut of termites and help in the process of cellulose digestion


Bhamrah, H.S. , and Kavita Juneja. A Text Book of Invertebrates. New Delhi, India: J. L. Kumar

for Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd., 1992.


chiefly marine protozoa having two flagella; a chief constituent of plankton 


WordWeb 5.52


Protozoan group which are abundant in the plankton and benthos of all oceans and possess


a protective test (shell) usually composed of calcium carbonate.


"Glossary". Lophelia.org. May 25, 2010 <http://www.lophelia.org/lophelia/glossary2.htm>.


obtaining nourishment as animals do by ingesting complex organic matter


"What does holozoic mean?". AudioEnglish.net. May 25, 2010



Marine sediment consisting of more than 30% shell fragments of microscopic organisms.


"Glossary Database". Idaho Museum of Natural History. May 25, 2010




marine protozoa 


WordWeb 5.52

rock strata

Layers of sedimentary rocks.


"Glossary of Geologic Terms". Maine Geological Survey. May 25, 2010




genus of parabasalian protists that live in the intestines of many, if not most, termitespecies.


They are symbiotes, in that they break down the cellulose in the wood and plant fibers their


hosts eat.


"Cospeciation of termite gut flagellates and their bacterial endosymbionts: Trichonympha


species and 'Candidatus Endomicrobium trichonymphae'". Wiley Inter Science. May 25, 2010