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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Free-Living Amoeba as Agents of Infection. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Life Cycle: Acanthamoeba Species

Unlike Naegleria fowleri, Acanthamoeba species has only two stages in its life cycle, cysts and trophozoites. The trophozoite measures between 25-50 µm and can be recognized by the presence of slender, spine-like projections called acanthopodia. It has a single nucleus containing a dense nucleolus and reproduces by binary fission. It feeds on a variety of organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and other protozoa. The resilient cyst form can survive for years under the most adverse conditions such as extreme temperatures, pH, drying, and chemical exposures. The trophozoites are the infective form, however, both cysts and trophozoites can gain entry into the body through a variety of means.