Evidence from a morphological study of the oral apparatus of Paramecium caudatum using electron microscope techniques have shown the existence of an elaborate structural system which is apparently designed to recycle digestive-vacuole membrane. Disk-shaped vesicles are filtered out of the cytoplasm by a group of microtubular ribbons. The vesicles, after being transported to the cytostome-cytopharynx region in association with these ribbons, accumulate next to the cytopharynx before they become fused with the cytopharyngeal membrane. This fusion allows the nascent food vacuole to grow and increase its membrane surface area. The morphology of this cytostome-cytopharynx region is described in detail and illustrated with a three-dimensional drawing of a portion of this region and a clay sculpture of the oral apparatus of Paramecium. Evidence from the literature for the transformation of food vacuole membrane into disk-shaped vesicles both from condensing food vacuoles in the endoplasm and from egested food vacuoles at the cytoproct is presented. This transformation would complete a system of digestive vacuole membrane recycling.

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