Holozoic nutrition

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Amoeba, Entamoeba histolytica uses holozoic nutrition.

Holozoic nutrition (Greek: holo whole and zoikos of animals) is a method of nutrition that involves the ingestion of liquid or solid organic material, digestion, absorption and assimilation of it to utilize it. It includes taking in the complex substances and converting them into simpler forms. For example, proteins can be broken into amino acids. This method suggests phagocytosis where the cell membrane completely surrounds a food particle.[1] Another name of holozoic nutrition is phagocytosis.

Unicellular organisms such as amoebas and most of the free living animals, including humans, exhibit this type of nutrition. In this mode of nutrition, the food may be a small bacterium, a plant, or an animal. This nutrition involves:

  1. Ingestion: Taking in complex organic food through mouth opening.
  2. Digestion: Change of complex food into simple form by action of enzymes.
  3. Absorption: Passing of simple, soluble nutrients through blood or lymph.
  4. Assimilation: Utilization of absorbed food for various metabolic processes.
  5. Egestion: Expelling out the undigested food.

Holozoic nutrition is one of the three types of heterotrophic nutrition.


  1. ^ Hickman, Cleveland, and Larry Roberts. Integrated Principles of Zoology. 14th ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2006.