(Science: cell biology) endocytosis of particulate material, such as microorganisms or cell fragments. The material is taken into the cell in membrane bound vesicles (phagosomes) that originate as pinched off invaginations of the plasma membrane. Phagosomes fuse with lysosomes, forming phagolysosomes in which the engulfed material is killed and digested.
Origin: L. Phagedaena, gr Phago, To eat. process in which phagocytes engulf and digest microorganisms and cellular debris; an important defense against infection.The ingestion of materials (“cell eating”) from the outside of the cell into its exterior.