The elemental composition and the cell cycle stages of the marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana Hasle and Heimdal were studied in continuous cultures over a range of different light- (E), nitrogen- (N), and phosphorus- (P) limited growth rates. In all growth conditions investigated, the decrease in the growth rate was linked with a higher relative contribution of the G2+M phase. The other phases of the cell cycle, G1 and S, showed different patterns, depending on the type of limitation. All experiments showed a highly significant increase in the amount of biogenic silica per cell and per cell surface with decreasing growth rates. At low growth rates, the G2+M elongation allowed an increase of the silicification of the cells. This pattern could be explained by the major uptake of silicon during the G2+M phase and by the independence of this process on the requirements of the other elements. This was illustrated by the elemental ratios Si/C and Si/N that increased from 2- to 6-fold, depending of the type of limitation, whereas the C/N ratio decreased by 10% (E limitation) or increased by 50% (P limitation). The variations of the ratios clearly demonstrate the uncoupling of the Si metabolism compared with the C and N metabolisms. This uncoupling enabled us to explain that in any of the growth condition investigated, the silicification of the cells increased at low growth rates, whereas carbon and nitrogen cellular content are differently regulated, depending of the growth conditions.