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Nitzschia sp.jpeg
Nitzschia sp.
Nitzschia-kerguelensis hg.jpg
A microfossil of Nitzschia kerguelensis in marine sediment
Scientific classification
(unranked): SAR
Superphylum: Heterokonta
Class: Bacillariophyceae
Order: Bacillariales
Family: Bacillariaceae
Genus: Nitzschia
Hassall, 1845

See text

Nitzschia is a common pennate marine diatom. In the scientific literature, this genus, named after Christian Ludwig Nitzsch, is sometimes termed Nitzchia, and it has many species described, which all have a similar morphology.


Nitzschia is found mostly in colder waters, and is associated with both Arctic and Antarctic polar sea ice, where it is often found to be the dominant diatom. Nitzschia includes several species of diatoms known to produce the neurotoxin known as domoic acid, a toxin responsible for the human illness called amnesic shellfish poisoning. The species N. frigida is found to grow exponentially even at temperatures between −4 and −6 °C.[1] Some Nitzchia species are also extremophiles by dent of tolerance to high salinity; for example, some halophilic species of Nitzchia are found in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana.[2]


For more information:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ L. Aletsee and J.Jahnke, 'Growth and productivity of the psychrophilic marine diatoms Thalassiosira antarctica Comber and Nitzschia frigida Grunow in batch cultures at temperatures below the freezing point of sea water. Polar biol(1992) 11:643-647>
  2. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Makgadikgadi, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham

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