Fatty acid composition of symbiotic zooxanthellae in relation to their hosts
- Cite this article as:
- Bishop, D.G. & Kenrick, J.R. Lipids (1980) 15: 799. doi:10.1007/BF02534368
Gymnodinoid dinoflagellate symbionts, commonly referred to as zooxanthellae, are widely distributed among marine invertebrates. It has been assumed that they represent only one species,Gymnodinium microadriaticum. The fatty acid composition of total lipids and galactolipids of zooxanthellae isolated from 8 species of corals, 3 species of clams and a foraminiferan have been analyzed and found to vary according to the host. For example, the content of eicosapentaenoic acid in clam zooxanthellae monogalactosyldiacylglycerol was less than 2%, whereas in the same lipid from coral zooxanthellae, the content ranged from 9 to 22%. Corresponding values for the acid in digalactosyl-diacylglycerol were 1–8% from clam zooxanthellae and 23–40% from coral zooxanthellae. Coral zooxanthellae monogalactosyldiacylglycerol contain higher levels of octadecatetraenoic acid than are found in digalactosyldiacylglycerol, whereas the reverse is true in clam zooxanthellae. The fatty acid composition of the lipids of an axenic culture of zooxanthellae isolated from the clamTridacna maxima are similar to those of cells freshly isolated from the host. The results suggest either that the host is capable of affecting the fatty acid metabolism of the symbiont or that different strains of zooxanthellae occur in corals and clams.