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phagocytosis vs. pinocytosis

phagocytosis vs. pinocytosis: What's the difference?

Phagocytosis and pinocytosis refer to two different cell ingestion processes. Phagocytosis is when a cell ingests solid material. The process involves pinching off part of the cell wall, and then protruding the cytoplasm to engulf the material. Pinocytosis is when a cell ingests fluid. The process is similar to phagocytosis, but each droplet of the fluid gets encased in its own little pocket of cell membrane before it’s brought into the cytoplasm.

[ fag-uh-sahy-toh-sis ]
  1. the ingestion of a smaller cell or cell fragment, a microorganism, or foreign particles by means of the local infolding of a cell's membrane and the protrusion of its cytoplasm around the fold until the material has been surrounded and engulfed by closure of the membrane and formation of a vacuole: characteristic of amebas and some types of white blood cells.
[ pin-uh-sahy-toh-sis, pahy-nuh- ]
  1. the transport of fluid into a cell by means of local infoldings by the cell membrane so that a tiny vesicle or sac forms around each droplet, which is then taken into the interior of the cytoplasm: Some drugs, such as penicillin, are unable to cross biological barriers unless they make use of carrier proteins or are taken across by pinocytosis.

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