De novo synthesis of fatty acids in the rotifer, Brachionus plicatilis

E. Lubzens*, A. Marko, A. Tietz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


The fatty acid composition of rotifer phospholipids is largely dependent on that of their food, indicating that the ingested lipids are hydrolysed in the gut, resorbed, metabolized and incorporated into body phospholipids. It is stable and does not change considerably after 1 or 2 days of starvation. Considerable differences were found in the fatty acid composition of rotifers fed baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Chlorella or Isochrysis. Rotifers fed on baker's yeast for several generations contained considerable amounts of PUFA (1.6% of 22:6 ω3) although this yeast contains mainly 16:1 and 18:1 acids and is completely devoid of 16:3, C:20 and C:22 unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. This observation suggests that fatty acid synthesis and elongation had occurred. De novo synthesis of PUFA was further suggested by experiments in which 1-14C acetate was incorporated into radioactive acids and was verified by chemical degradation. Upon decarboxylation, approximately 10% of the total radioactivity in the PUFA was recovered as 14CO2, indicating that all the uneven C-atoms must contain 14C. Oxidative cleavage of all of the double bonds of PUFA yielded 14C-labelled propionic and hexanoic acid from the methyl end of the molecule. However, the rate of synthesis of these acids is rather low. Hence, in order to supply large amounts of PUFA to marine fish larvae, rotifers must be fed on PUFA-rich food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-37
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1985


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