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Intercalary located akinete of Dolichospermum smithii
Terminally located akinete of Gloeotrichia

An akinete is a thick-walled dormant cell derived from the enlargement of a vegetative cell.[1] It serves as a survival structure. It is a resting cell of cyanobacteria and unicellular and filamentous green algae.[2] Under magnification, akinetes appear thick walled with granular-looking cytoplasms.

Development of akinetes from a vegetative cell involves:

  1. increase in size
  2. gradual disappearance of gas vacuoles
  3. increase in cytoplasmic density, number of ribosomes & cyanophycin granules

The akinetes are filled with food reserves, and have a normal cell wall surrounded with 3 layer coat.


  1. ^ Moore, R. et al. (1998) Botany. 2nd Ed. WCB/McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-697-28623-1
  2. ^ Elfgren, I. K. (2003) Studies on the Life Cycles of Akinete Forming Cyanobacteria. Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology 856, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. ISBN 91-554-5665-0