A large, transparent, thick-walled cell found in the filaments of certain blue-green algae and in certain fungi.
- Nitrification cannot occur in the presence of oxygen, so nitrogen is fixed in specialized cells called heterocysts.
- These heterocysts develop from vegetative cells in a regular pattern along the filament.
- In the 1970s, purified heterocysts from this strain were used to demonstrate that they are the sites of aerobic nitrogen fixation.
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