MadSci Network: Science History

Re: who discovered the vacuole?

Date: Wed Jan 28 13:22:24 2004
Posted By: Chris Reigstad, Grad student, Molecular Biology and Pharmacology, Washington University in St. Louis
Area of science: Science History
ID: 1074216165.Sh

Although, to my knowledge, he never ascribed functionality to the vacuole, Leeuwenhoek 
probably deserves this honor. The dutch microscopist, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, discovered 
bacteria, free-living and parasitic microscopic protists, sperm cells, blood cells, microscopic 
nematodes and rotifers, and much more. Chances are good that when observing some of 
the protists he discovered (between the late 1600's and early 1700's), he saw what were, in 
fact, vacuoles. In many protists, specialized vacuoles take up a significant portion of the 
total volume of the organism.

Find out more about protists here:
The Protist Information Server

Find out some more about Leeuwenhoek here:

Hope this helps,

Chris Reigstad

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