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Aquatic Biology

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AB - Vol. 9, No. 2 - Feature article
Portrait of Paraphysomonas vestita, a colourless stramenopile flagellate. Photo by W. Bourland

Bec A, Martin-Creuzburg D, Von Elert E


Fatty acid composition of the heterotrophic nanoflagellate Paraphysomonas sp.: influence of diet and de novo biosynthesis


There is growing evidence that heterotrophic protists are the major consumers of primary production in aquatic ecosystems and are themselves preyed upon by metazoans like crustacean grazers. It has been demonstrated that heterotrophic protists, as intermediate trophic levels, can upgrade the quality of their prey for crustacean grazers. Moreover, in systems where food resources, such as prokaryotic organisms, are of low quality that can not sustain metazoan production, heterotrophic protists constitute a necessary biosynthetic step to provide essential lipids for metazoan growth. As a common lament from aquatic food web studies is that there is little data available on lipids of hetrotrophic protists, this study compares the relative importance of dietary factors vs de novo synthesis in determining the polyunsaturated fatty acid composition of the heterotrophic flagellate Paraphysomonas sp..


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