IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Picocystis Salinarum

16th November, 2023 Environment

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  • A young researcher has divulged the secret of how Picocystis Salinarum survives the harshest of conditions.


  • Picocystis is a monotypic genus of green algae.
  • The sole species of this genus is Picocystis salinarum.
  • It is placed within its own class, Picocystophyceae in the division Chlorophyta.


  • Picocystis salinarum cells under normal conditions have a spherical or oval shape.
  • Their size ranges from 2 to 3μm in diameter.
  • Under conditions of nutrient depletion, they appear to form a trillobe shape.
  • The pigments are composed mainly from chlorophyll a and b and the carotenoids violaxanthin, alloxanthin, monadoxanthin, neoxanthin, lutein, diatoxanthin and zeaxanthin.
  • The cell wall is mainly composed of polymers of the monosaccharide arabinose,


  • The species have been found in saline or hypersaline alkaline environments.
  • Picocystis Salinarum survives the harshest of conditions by resorting to physiological adaptation to highly saline-alkaline/hyperosmotic conditions.

Detection in India

  • salinarum was found in hypersaline soda lake Sambhar, Rajasthan, to survive extreme environments.
  • Though the alga had been widely found in saline-soda lakes around the world, it was spotted for the first time in India only in the Sambhar Lake.


  • The unique organism apparently enhances photosynthesis and ATP synthesis along with chaperone proteins as key response to high salinity-alkalinity.
  • Enhanced photosynthetic activity exhibited by P. salinarum in highly saline-alkaline condition is noteworthy as photosynthesis is suppressed under hyperosmotic conditions in most photosynthetic organisms.


Q. Recently, Picocystis Salinarum was in the news. What is it?

1. Algae

2. Lichen

3. Moss

4. Bryophyte

Choose the correct code.

1. A

2. B

3. C

4. D


Option 1. A. Algae