Analyses of lipids and fatty acids in ripe roes of some Northwest European marine fish


Lipid class analyses and fatty acid analyses of neutral and polar lipids were carried out on ripe roes of herring, cod, haddock, whiting, saithe, sand eel and capelin. Total lipid was 10–26% of roe dry weight. The species with the highest total lipid, sand eel and capelin, also had the highest percentage of neutral lipid in total lipid, 77% and 49% respectively. In the other species, phospholipids accounted for 62–77% of roe total lipid. Both the neutral lipids, and especially the phospholipids, of all species were very unsaturated because of high concentrations of (n−3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), frequently amounting to 50% of the total egg lipid. Phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) had similar fatty acid compositions in all species, with an average ratio (n−3)/(n−6) of ca. 20∶1. Phosphatidylinositol (PI) consistently had high concentrations of 18∶0 and 20∶4 (n−6) with an average ratio of (n−3)/(n−6) of 1.8∶1. Requirements for high levels of (n−3) PUFA in the embryonic and early larval development stages of marine fish are suggested as is a special role for the 20∶4(n−6) in PI.

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Correspondence to Douglas R. Tocher.

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Tocher, D.R., Sargent, J.R. Analyses of lipids and fatty acids in ripe roes of some Northwest European marine fish. Lipids 19, 492–499 (1984).

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  • Neutral Lipid
  • Steryl Ester
  • Neutral Lipid Fraction
  • Polar Lipid Fraction
  • Total Polar Lipid