An akinete is an enveloped, thick-walled, non-motile, dormant cell formed by filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacteria under the order Nostocales and Stigonematales. Akinetes are resistant to cold and desiccation. They also accumulate and store various essential material, both of which allows the akinete to serve as a survival structure for up to many years. However, akinetes are not resistant to heat. Akinetes usually develop in strings with each cell differentiating after another and this occurs next to heterocysts if they are present. Development usually occurs during stationary phase and is triggered by unfavorable conditions such as insufficient light or nutrients, temperature, and saline levels in the environment. Once conditions become more favorable for growth, the akinete can then germinate back into a vegetative cell. Increased light intensity, nutrients availability, oxygen availability, and changes in salinity are important triggers for germination. In comparison to vegetative cells, akinetes are generally larger. This is associated with the accumulation of nucleic acids which is important for both dormancy and germination of the akinete. Despite being a resting cell, it is still capable of some metabolic activities such as photosynthesis, protein synthesis, and carbon fixation, albeit at significantly lower levels.
Akinetes can remain dormant for extended periods of time. Studies have shown that some species could be cultured that were 18 and 64 years old. 
Akinete formation also influences the perennial blooms of cyanobacteria.
- Adams, David; Duggan, Paula (Aug 1999). "Heterocyst and akinete differentiation in cyanobacteria". New Phytol. 144: 23–28. doi:10.1046/j.1469-8137.1999.00505.x.
- Moore, R. et al. (1998) Botany. 2nd Ed. WCB/McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-697-28623-1
- Sukenik, Assaf; Beardall, John; Hadas, Ora (July 2007). "Photosynthetic Characterization of Developing and Mature Akinetes Ofaphanizomenon Ovalisporum(Cyanoprokaryota)1". Journal of Phycology. 43 (4): 780–788. Bibcode:2007JPcgy..43..780S. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2007.00374.x. S2CID 85200692.
- Sukenik, Assaf; Maldener, Iris; Delhaye, Thomas (September 2015). "Carbon assimilation and accumulation of cyanophycin during the development of dormant cells (akinetes) in the cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon ovalisporum". Front. Microbiol. 6: 1067. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.01067. PMC 4586427. PMID 26483781.
- Myers, Jackie; Beardall, John; Allinson, Graeme (July 2010). "Environmental influences on akinete germination and development in Nodularia spumigena (Cyanobacteriaceae), isolated from the Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, Australia". Hydrobiologia. 649 (1): 239–247. doi:10.1007/s10750-010-0252-5. S2CID 23052084.
- Sukenik, Assaf; Kaplan-Levy, Ruth; Mark, Jessica (March 2012). "Massive multiplication of genome and ribosomes in dormant cells (akinetes) of Aphanizomenon ovalisporum (Cyanobacteria)". The ISME Journal. 6 (3): 670–679. doi:10.1038/ismej.2011.128. PMC 3280138. PMID 21975597.
- David Livingstone & G.H.M. Jaworski (1980) The viability of akinetes of blue-green algae recovered from the sediments of Rostherne Mere, British Phycological Journal, 15:4, 357-364, DOI: 10.1080/00071618000650361
- Myers, Jackie; Beardall, John (Aug 2011). "Potential triggers of akinete differentiation in Nodularia spumigena (Cyanobacteriaceae) isolated from Australia". Hydrobiologia. 671 (1): 165. doi:10.1007/s10750-011-0714-4. S2CID 7949386.