Algal lipids provide essential fatty acids for higher trophic levels in the marine food web, and understanding the fatty acid composition in phytoplankton is critical for evaluating its value as a diet. Nineteen microalgal species, mainly originating from the Baltic Sea, covering major algal classes were grown in different growth conditions. Samples were taken during both the exponential and stationary growth phases and analysed regarding their fatty acid methyl esters and free fatty acids. Our results show that across all screened species, total fatty acids increased significantly from exponential to stationary growth phase. Furthermore, it was observed that warm-water species contained more lipids and differed in their lipid profile as compared with the cold-water species. Brackish water species also showed a slightly higher lipid content than the marine species, but their lipid profile was not significantly different. Plotting changes in lipids against changes in cell nitrogen revealed a significant dependency between decrease in cell nitrogen and increase in lipids across all tested species.
- fatty acid
- growth phase