Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 387–398 | Cite as

Seasonal and within-plant variation in fatty acid content and composition in the brown seaweed Spatoglossum macrodontum (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae)

  • Björn J. GoschEmail author
  • Nicholas A. Paul
  • Rocky de Nys
  • Marie Magnusson


We investigated seasonal and within-plant variation in total fatty acids (TFAs) and biomass increase in the tropical brown seaweed Spatoglossum macrodontum which was sampled from Magnetic Island (Queensland, Australia) at monthly intervals over 1 year. In this habitat, S. macrodontum is an annual species with a growth period from June to September where mean biomass changed from 8- to 136-g fresh weight. Although TFA content and fatty acid (FA) composition were not directly correlated to individual plant size, there was clear seasonal variation in TFA content with a peak in July (82.7 mg g−1 dry weight (dw)) followed by a 30 % decline in August and little subsequent variation from September to November (65.9–55.5 mg g−1 dw). The FA profile was rich in polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs) (39 %); however, there was a change to a higher percentage of saturated FAs (SFAs) (42 %) and reduced PUFA (31 %) as plants reached the end of the growth period. Averaged across sampling periods, TFA content ranged from 77 mg g−1 dw in the tips to 30 mg g−1 dw in the base section. While PUFA content (37–38 %) was similar across sections, the base had less SFAs and a higher content of monounsaturated FAs (MUFAs) (29 %). These results are the first data on the seasonal biomass increase and the temporal and internal variations in FAs for this species with important implications when targeting large brown seaweeds as a source of FAs for nutraceuticals (PUFA(n-3), 21.8 % of TFA) or chemicals (C18:1 (n-9), 17.6 % of TFA).


Algae Spatoglossum Fatty acid Omega-3 Nutraceutical Macroalgae 



This research is part of the MBD Energy Research and Development program for Biological Carbon Capture and Storage. The project is supported by the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC), funded through the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Scheme. Björn J. Gosch is supported by an AMCRC PhD scholarship.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PDF 626 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Björn J. Gosch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicholas A. Paul
    • 1
  • Rocky de Nys
    • 1
  • Marie Magnusson
    • 1
  1. 1.MACRO—the Centre for Macroalgal Resources and Biotechnology, and School of Marine and Tropical BiologyJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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