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Fatty acid profiles and their distribution patterns in microalgae: a comprehensive analysis of more than 2000 strains from the SAG culture collection

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Author(s): Lang Imke | Hodac Ladislav | Friedl Thomas | Feussner Ivo

Journal: BMC Plant Biology
ISSN 1471-2229

Volume: 11;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 124;
Date: 2011;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Among the various biochemical markers, fatty acids or lipid profiles represent a chemically relatively inert class of compounds that is easy to isolate from biological material. Fatty acid (FA) profiles are considered as chemotaxonomic markers to define groups of various taxonomic ranks in flowering plants, trees and other embryophytes. Results The fatty acid profiles of 2076 microalgal strains from the culture collection of algae of Göttingen University (SAG) were determined in the stationary phase. Overall 76 different fatty acids and 10 other lipophilic substances were identified and quantified. The obtained FA profiles were added into a database providing information about fatty acid composition. Using this database we tested whether FA profiles are suitable as chemotaxonomic markers. FA distribution patterns were found to reflect phylogenetic relationships at the level of phyla and classes. In contrast, at lower taxonomic levels, e.g. between closely related species and even among multiple isolates of the same species, FA contents may be rather variable. Conclusion FA distribution patterns are suitable chemotaxonomic markers to define taxa of higher rank in algae. However, due to their extensive variation at the species level it is difficult to make predictions about the FA profile in a novel isolate.
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