6 Characteristics and Examples of Plant-Like Protists

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Plant-like Protists

In this case Protista is similar to plants we usually know as algae or algae. Algae or algae are large group organisms of various types and they are autotrophic organisms which means they produce their own food.

Protists ("the very first") originated from the theory of the origin of living things which Aristotle put forward "Living things came from inanimate matter". The phylum in Protista consists of four: Rhizopoda / Sarcodina, Cylliata / Cyilliophora, Flagellata / Mastidhopora and, Sporozoa

In this paper we will discuss Plant-like Protists (Algae / Algae), Animal-Like Protists (Protozoa), and Mushroom-like Protists (Sporozoa). What are the characteristics of Protists, how to breed, positive and negative roles in human life.

By studying Plant-like Protists, Animal-like Protists and Mushroom-like Protists we can better understand the characteristics, the process of reproduction. And can find out any examples of plant-like protists, animal-like protists, and mushroom-like protists that are beneficial and detrimental.

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Classification of Plant-Like Protists

Plant-like protists or what we know better as "Algae" are single-celled or multicellular organisms that have a threadlike shape. Algae (plant-like protists) have chlorophyll and are able to photosynthesize like plants.

Then, based on the classification of living things, why are algae not classified into the group plantae (plants). The reason is brief but it's quite clear friend, here's the cause, Algae doesn't have roots, stems, or leaves. Because of this algae do not include plants. Now this algae is divided into several phyla, namely:

  • Golden Algae (Chrysophyta)

Chlorophyta (Green Algae) Some are unicellular (solitary - colonies) and multicellular. Its body contains chlorophyll (chlorophyll a and b), and other color piqmen (carotene, xanthophyll). Life hovers in fresh water or sea water as phytoplankton. Has a cell wall composed of cellulose and lignin. Body shape (thread, sheet and colony). There is a symbiosis (mutualism) with fungi forming lichenes (lichens).

Asexual reproduction (with binary fission for single-celled and fragmentation for yarns, zoospores), and sexually by conjugation. Conjugation is a combination of gametes that form zigospores. Example: Chlorococcum sp, Chlorella sp, Spirogyra sp, Ulva sp, Chlamydomonas sp

Golden Algae (Chrysophyta)
The algae phylum that usually stays on the humid soil surface and causes the soil to be golden yellow. The golden algae body is made up of one cell and resembles a boat.

  • Euglenophyta phylum

Euglenophyta is a unique group of protists because it has plant and animal-like properties. Considered plant-like because it has chlorophyll a and b, carotene is also found so that it will photosynthesize. Euglenophyta is considered to resemble animals because it can move actively with the help of one or several whip feathers (flagella) that come out of its cells. Because it has a locomotor, it can live in waters, such as fresh water and stagnant water. Example: Euglena viridis

Euglenophyta phylum
This algae phylum is often found in fresh water with an oval shape, has flagella (whip), eye spots, and is green because it has chlorophyll. Euglenophyta moves actively like animals but can photosynthesize like plants. This phylum, commonly called euglena, reproduces by dividing itself. Some experts put it into their own group because it has characteristics similar to animals as well as plants.

  • Phylum Brown Algae (Phaeophyta)

Phyrrophyta (Fire Algae) Often called Dinoflagellata because it has 2 flagella. unicellular in nature, having the form of chlorophyll a and c. Has cell walls in the form of cellulose and some do not have cell walls. Called algae Fire, because it is able to emit light (bioluminescence) in dark conditions. Live in sea water and some are in fresh water Example: Noctiluca sp, Ceratium sp, Gonyaulax sp, Perridium sp

Phylum Brown Algae (Phaeophyta)Brown algae generally live in cold climate waters. There also live in fresh water. All Chocolate Algae are multicellular living things.

  • Red Algae Phylum (Rhodophyta)

Rodhophyta (Red Algae) Multicellular in nature, having fikobilin piqmen consisting of fikoreitrin (red) and phycocyanin (blue), chlorophyll. habitat on the seabed, such as grass so often called seaweed (sea weed). Vegetative reproduction by spore formation, and generatively by fusion between the ovum and spermatozoid.

Often used for food (gelatin) and cosmetics. Example: Euchema spinosum, Glacilaria sp, Gelidium sp, Gigartina mammilosa, Erytrophylum sp, Macrocladia sp

Red Algae Phylum (Rhodophyta)
Red algae are multicellular living things that contain fikobilin pigments. This pigment consists of phychoritrin (red) and phycocyanin (blue). Red algae are widely used for the cosmetics, paint, ice cream, etc.

  • Green Algae Filum (chlorophyta)

Chrysophyta (brown-golden algae) Some are unicellular and some are multicellular, and many are flagged. Has the dominant color piqmen are carotene, fukosantin (yellow brown) and other color pigments chlorophyll a and b. Most of these groups are Diatoms. Diatoms have a box shape and have cell walls. Cells are composed of two hemispheres, namely: the container (hypothetical) and closed (epitheka).

Cell walls contain grit, so it is often called grit algae or diatomaceous earth. Benefits: for scouring, insulation, cosmetics and dynamite sealing, swimming pool filters. Example: Diatoms, Navicula, Cyclotella, and Pinnularia

Green Algae Filum (chlorophyta)
These algal phyla are classified as eukaryotes. Green algae can live in fresh water, sea water, in muddy soil, on rocks, even in ponds. The pond which is overgrown with algae has its own characteristics, namely greenish color. This algae has a diverse body shape. Some are single-celled, thread-shaped, and some are multicellular like higher plants.

  • Chlorophyta (Green Algae)

Chlorophyta (Green Algae)

Some are unicellular (solitary - colonies) and multicellular. Its body contains chlorophyll (chlorophyll a and b), and other color piqmen (carotene, xanthophyll). Life hovers in fresh water or sea water as phytoplankton. Has a cell wall composed of cellulose and lignin. Body shape (thread, sheet and colony). There is a symbiosis (mutualism) with fungi forming lichenes (lichens).

Asexual reproduction (with binary fission for single-celled and fragmentation for yarns, zoospores), and sexually by conjugation. Conjugation is a combination of gametes that form zigospores.

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Characteristic of plant-like protists

Included in the group of plant-like protists are algae (algae) The characteristics are as follows

  • Eukaryotic organism

  • There are unicellular (form of yarn / ribbon) and some are multicellular (sheet form).

  • Has chlorophyll, so it is autotrophic. In addition to chlorophyll, algae also have other pigments, such as phycocyanin (blue), fikoeritrin (red), fikosantin (brown), xanthophyll (yellow) and carotene (golden).

  • Algae / algae bodies are indistinguishable from roots, stems, and leaves. The body is a thalus, so it is incorporated into the thalophyta.

  • Asexual reproduction (by fragmentation, division, spore formation) and sexual (with oogamy and isogamy). Oogamy occurs when female cells and male sex cells are the same size and are difficult to distinguish. Oogamy occurs when male and female sex cells have different shapes and sizes and are easily distinguishable. From the fusion of the two sex cells, fertilization will occur which results in a zygote. Zygotes will continue to develop into new individuals

  • Habitat in waters (freshwater), humid place. There are attached to the rock (epilytic), soil / mud / sand (epipalik), attached to plants as (epiphytic), and attached to the animal's body (epizoik).

plant-like protists

Plant-like protists known as algae (Figure below). Plant-like protists are a large and diverse group. Plant-like protists are autotrophic organisms. This means that they produce their own food. They carry out photosynthesis to produce sugar using carbon dioxide and water, and energy from sunlight, such as plants. Unlike plants, however, plant-like protists do not have true stems, roots, or leaves.

Most protists such as plants live in the ocean, ponds, or lakes. Protists can be unicellular (single celled) or multicellular (multi celled). Seaweed and kelp are examples of multicellular plant-like protists. Kelp can be as large as trees and form a "forest" in the sea

Plant-like protists are very important for the ecosystem. They are the basic food chain in the ocean, and they produce oxygen through photosynthesis for animals to breathe. They are classified into a number of basic groups (Table below).



Amount (estimated)


Chlorophyta green algae - associated with higher plants 7.500 Chlamydomnas, Ulva, Volvox
Rhodophyta red algae 5.000 Porphyra
Phaeophyta brown algae 1.500 Macrocystis
Chrysophyta diatoms, golden brown algae, yellow-green algae 12.000 Cyclotella
Pyrrophyta dinoflagellata 4.000 Gonyaulax
Euglenophyta euglenoids 1.000 Euglena

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Reproduction of plant-like protists

Asexual reproduction

  • With binary fission the algae stem cells divide into two equal parts and then grow into new algae.

  • With fragmentation, the broken filament or thallus can grow into new algae.

  • With the formation of spores that is by splitting the stem cell wall then the spores will come out after the stem cell wall breaks and then grow into new haploid algae.

  • Sexual reproduction, occurs with the union of two different types of gametes

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Benefits of Protists Similar to human life

  • Algae are plankton, as fish food.
  • Gelatin as food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals from Rhodophyta members, namely Eucheuma, Gracillaria, Gelidium.
  • Alginic acid as an ingredient in ice cream, paints, cosmetics, and textiles. This material was extracted from members of Phaeophyta, namely Laminaria.
  • Foodstuff as a single cell protein (PST) from members of Chlorophyta, namely Chlorella.

One of the benefits of algae is as a food source. Algae can be used as jelly. Agara-agara is a fibrous food which has a high nutritional value. And can be used also as cosmetic ingredients and skin cleansers, for example is brown algae.

Other benefits are algae as an ingredient to increase soil fertility, both directly and indirectly. Some types of algae can bind nitrogen, for example Anabaena Azollae. Protozoa that are beneficial to life include, among others, Entamoeba coli that lives in the intestines of cows can help with digestion. Besides being beneficial and beneficial, the role of protists is also detrimental. For example: if an action colony dies in water, it will cause water pollution that can poison humans and animals. Such adverse protozoa include Entamoeba Histolitica and Balantidium.

Fire algae or often referred to as Dinoflagelata often causes red tide or turn reddish sea water when the algae concentration reaches 6-8 million cells in one liter of sea water (algae blooming occurs). Some species of algae that cause red tides produce toxins (poisons) that can kill fish and marine animals in the vicinity. The increased concentration of the toxin produced by algae is classified into three categories:

  1. increased concentration (blooming) which kills many fish but only kills a few invertebrates;
  2. increased concentration (blooming) that kills primary invertebrates;
  3. an increase in concentration (blooming) that kills some marine organisms, but the toxin is concentrated in chiffon, digestive glands, or shells of bivalve mollusks such as pearl oysters, shellfish and scallops that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).

Examples of fire algae that cause many cases of seafood poisoning are Gymnoidium breve which produces neurotoxins (toxins for nerves), Gambierdiscus toxicus which produces ciguatoxin, and Gonyaulax catenella, the main and most dangerous cause of PSP on the Pacific coast of North America which produces saxitoxin which is 100,000 times more deadly than cocaine. There is also Pfiesteria piscicida whose toxins make the fish stiff and then it will eat the body fluids of its prey.

The Role of Plant-like Protists

The Role of Protists Similar to Favorable Plants:

  1. As a food source that can be consumed directly (chlorella, ulva, eucheuma)
  2. As a mixture of various industrial products (golden algae for example diatoms)

The Role of Protectors Similar to Adverse Plants:

  • Entamoeba histolytica lives in the human intestine, causing damage to the intestinal tissue and diarrhea.
  • Entamoeba hartmani lives in the intestine of humans, causes dysentery but its effects are not more severe than Entamoeba histolytica.
  • Entamoeba gingivalis live in the oral cavity of humans, there are between teeth or in the necks of teeth, throat, and tonsils. Not patotenic but can aggravate gum inflammation.
  • Trypanosoma evansi causes surrah disease in cattle, horses and buffalo. Many outbreaks in the tropics, including Indonesia. The intermediate vector is a fly from the genus Tabanus.
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