Don’t be salty! The effects of salinity on vacuole formation of Tetrahymena thermophila.

  • Jullia Ayre
  • Florence Ng
  • David (SungJin) Suh


The rate of vacuole formation of Tetrahymena thermophila was tested under different salinity conditions. Tetrahymena thermophila are heterotrophic organisms that synthesize food vacuoles in freshwater conditions. We incubated T. thermophila in 2 mM NaCl and 200 mM NaCl solutions to make comparisons to T. thermophila in plain media, which is the optimal growing conditions for the cells. To determine if the rate of vacuole formation, dye was added to the treatments and samples were taken out every five minutes until the 45th minute. Little to no vacuoles were formed in high salinity conditions (200 mM NaCl) throughout the experiment. There was a statistically significant difference between groups as determined by one-way ANOVA (p = 9.89 x 10 ^-5). T. thermophila vacuole formation was found to be highest in low salinity (2 mM NaCl) treatments.