Encystation in Amoeba

  • Encystation is the formation of a three-layered hard crust or a cyst around an amoeba to protect itself from unfavourable conditions.
  • It is usually seen in amoebas in defense to unfavourable conditions.
  • The amoebae lose their motility and pseudopodial movements.
  • The cysts formed are non-motile but functional metabolically.
  • When favourable conditions arrive, the amoeba regain their division capability and start dividing by the process of binary fission.
  • They produce a number of pseudopodia spores so that the cyst breaks open and the spores are released into the environment.
  • The formation of cyst takes place by cellular differentiation.


  • Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of amoebic dysentery, amoebic colitis, and amoebic appendicitis, lives in the human gut and undergoes encystment and excystment.
  • The cyst form of the organism is responsible for ulceration in the gut wall and abscess formation in the liver.
  • The amoeba is transferred or spread from one host to another in the form of cysts.

Note: Encystation is also seen in a number of protists, parasites, algae and fungi but is most well studied in amoebae.

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What is encystation in E. histolytica?

Encystation in E. histolytica takes place to spread the spores from one organism to another by the means of food and water.


What is the difference between encystation and sporulation?

Encystation is a withdrawal phenomenon to form a cyst in response to adverse conditions, whereas sporulation is a developmental process where a bacteria or fungi develops into a spore to protect itself from environmental conditions.


Why is Encystation important?

The formation of dormant cysts plays an important role in the life cycle of organisms as it helps in the spreading of their spores.


What is the difference between Excystment and Encystment?

Encystment is the process of formation of cysts in unfavourable conditions, whereas excystment is the rupturing of the cyst and escaping of the spores in favorable conditions.


What bacteria produce microcysts?

Azotobacter and Myxococcus are some of the bacterial species that produce cysts.


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