Lipid content and composition of the Antarctic lamellibranch, Laternula elliptica (King & Broderip) (Anomalodesmata: Laternulidae), in King George Island during an austral summer
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Total lipid content, lipid classes and fatty acid composition were studied in various tissues of the Antarctic clam Laternula elliptica in an early austral summer. A histological examination of the gonads revealed that most of the clams examined were spawning or ready to spawn. Lipid content was highest in gills (14.9% of tissue dry weight), followed by gonads (10.9%) and digestive glands (9.9%), and averaged 8.2% for the soft tissues. The overall lipid contents were relatively low compared to temperate bivalves at a similar reproductive stage. Lipid class composition in the total lipid of L. elliptica was quite similar to those of most marine bivalves at lower latitudes, being dominated by triacylglycerols (19.3–41.4% of total lipids) and phospholipids (18.9–28.3%) in most of the organs. Large amounts of triacylglycerol deposits in non-reproductive tissues, particularly in siphon and gill, indicate a potential role of lipid as maintenance energy reserve, although the low lipid contents suggest that lipid may not serve as an energy reserve for any food-limited periods. Fatty acid composition in L. elliptica was also typical of marine bivalves with predominance of 16:0 (26%) and 20:5n-3 (18%) acids. Total fatty acids from the soft tissues showed a moderate level of unsaturation (50.6%), and about 35% of the total fatty acids were polyunsaturated. These values were not significantly different from, or even lower than those of marine bivalves in warmer waters. However, the content of 20:5n-3 (18.2% of total fatty acids), which dominated n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, was similar to those reported for other marine bivalve species in temperate waters. The fatty acid composition of L. elliptica reflected dietary input of some microalgal species. The nanoflagellates Cryptomonas spp., which were reportedly rich in 16:0, 18:3n-3 and 20:5n-3, predominated in the water column during the present investigation.
KeywordsFatty Acid Composition Bivalve Lipid Content Total Fatty Acid Lipid Class
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