Grasas y Aceites, Vol 59, No 1 (2008)

Quantitative and qualitative variation of the fatty acid composition in the dinoflagellate Crypthecodinium cohnii under nitrogen starvation conditions

H. Mendoza
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Spain

C. Molina Cedres
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Spain

A. de la Jara
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Spain

L. Nordström
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Spain

K. Freijanes
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Spain

L. Carmona
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Spain


Crypthecodinium cohnii is a heterotrophic dinoflagellate that can achieve a lipid content greater than 20% on dry weight. DHA can represent up to 40% of the total fatty acids. Our objective was to investigate the variation in fatty acid content when growth conditions are optimal compared with when there is limited growth, due to the absence of nitrogen in the media. Nitrogen-limited growth conditions caused the cells to stop dividing and accumulate lipids, principally as docohexanoic acid (DHA). Oxygen availability in the culture favoured DHA accumulation. In the cultures without nitrogen and with oxygen availability there was a lipid cell content 3,18 times higher than in the control condition (with nitrogen and air), and 2,25 higher than those without nitrogen and air. C. cohnii can be used as an optimal DHA source for the production of phytodiets in aquaculture.


Crypthecodinium cohnii; DHA; Fatty acids; Heterotrophic culture

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