Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 629–638 | Cite as

Effect of UV stress on the fatty acid and lipid class composition in two marine microalgae Pavlova lutheri (Pavlovophyceae) and Odontella aurita (Bacillariophyceae)

  • Freddy Guihéneuf
  • Manuela Fouqueray
  • Virginie MimouniEmail author
  • Lionel Ulmann
  • Boris Jacquette
  • Gérard Tremblin


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (EPA and DHA), are abundantly synthesized by some phytoplankton species and play a key role in the marine food chain. However, they are generally considered to be sensitive to oxidation by UV radiation (UV-R). In order to investigate the effect of UV-R on the lipid composition of two marine microalgae, Pavlova lutheri and Odontella aurita, they were exposed to a combination of UVA-R and UVB-R with a total UV-R daily dose of 110 kJ m−2. Chlorophyll a, photochemical efficiency, and lipid composition were then determined on days 3, 5, and 8 of UV-R exposure. In P. lutheri, exposure to UV-R treatment led to a decrease in the proportions of PUFAs, such as EPA and DHA, especially into structural lipids (glycolipids and phospholipids). Our findings reveal a reduction of 20% in EPA levels and 16% in DHA levels, after 8 days of UV-R treatment. In O. aurita, exposure to UV-R did not change the fatty acid composition of the total lipids and lipid fractions of the cells. EPA levels remained high (27–28% of total lipids) during the 8 days of treatment. Consequently, the n-3 fatty acid content of P. lutheri was altered which highlights the sensitivity of this species to UV-R, whereas the results obtained for O. aurita suggest a more UV-R resistance. As a result, in latitude countries with medium UV-R level, outdoor “race-way” culture of O. aurita could yield a high-EPA algal biomass, whatever the seasonal variations in UV-R.


Pavlova lutheri Odontella aurita UV radiation Lipid classes n-3 fatty acids 



This work was jointly funded by the “Ministère de l’Education Nationale de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche (MENESR),” the “Conseil Général de la Mayenne,” “Laval Agglomération,” and the “CCI de la Mayenne.” The authors are especially grateful to Pierre Gaudin (University of Nantes, France) for supplying microalgae and would like to thank Monika Ghosh for reviewing the English text.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Freddy Guihéneuf
    • 1
    • 2
  • Manuela Fouqueray
    • 1
    • 3
  • Virginie Mimouni
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lionel Ulmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Boris Jacquette
    • 1
    • 3
  • Gérard Tremblin
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.EA 2160 Mer, Molécules, Santé, Ecophysiologie et Métabolisme des MicroalguesUniversité du Maine, PRES UNAMLe Mans Cedex 9France
  2. 2.Département Génie BiologiqueIUT de LavalLaval Cedex 9France
  3. 3.Faculté des Sciences et TechniquesLe Mans Cedex 9France

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