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Mar Biotechnol (NY). 2006 May-Jun;8(3):319-27. Epub 2006 May 3.

Docosahexaenoic acid production and lipid-body formation in Schizochytrium limacinum SR21.

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Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Nara Women's University, Nara, 630-8506, Japan.


Schizochytrium limacinum SR21, a thraustochytrid (Labyrinturomycota), is a heterotrophic marine microorganism. SR21 has attracted recent attention because of the production of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We obtained highly concentrated SR21 zoospores and successfully observed synchronous growth. We investigated changes of lipid content and fatty acid composition during the growth. The morphological features of the lipid bodies were also described via fluorescent and electron microscopy. The cells developed quickly after zoospore settlement. Lipid bodies developed in accordance with an increase in lipid content during the 8-h synchronous growth. The total lipid was composed mainly of triacylglycerol, sterol esters, and phosphatidylcholine. The proportion of neutral lipids (triacylglycerol and sterol esters) in the total lipid was fairly constant during growth. The fatty acid composition of neutral lipids, primary components of the lipid body, and phospholipids, primary components of the cell membranes, was nearly unchanged during the synchronous growth. However, the DHA content of the phospholipids decreased drastically after a 10-day culture. Electron micrographs prepared using a high-pressure freeze substitution technique revealed a fine structure of light- and dark-staining bands inside the lipid bodies in many stages of the cells.

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