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Phagocytosis is the destruction of foreign cells, usually of microorganisms, other cells, by "attack" cells of the cell-mediated immune system. Such defensive cells include circulating neutrophils and tissue-associated macrophages.

Phagocytosis is the mechanism in which defensive cells, in common terminology, "eat" material that has caused an immune response. That response involves opsonins forming on the target cell surface, making them "tasty".