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Estimate by means of flow cytometry of variation in composition of fatty acids from Tetraselmis suecica in response to culture conditions

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The present work shows the possibility of determining variations in the lipid composition in Tetraselmis suecica under different conditions of culture by means of flow cytometry in cells marked with Nile Red (NR). A significant correlation was observed between the cellular contents in polar and neutral lipids and the cytometric signal of the marked cells. Likewise, there was a significant correlation between the ratio of polar and neutral lipids, estimated by cytometry, and the relative composition of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in Tetraselmis, which corresponded to the greater content of PUFAs detected in the polar lipid fraction of this microalgae. This relationship between the polar/neutral ratio and the relative contents of PUFAs, together with the flow cytometry and the marking by means of NR, would make it possible to have an effective indicator of the abundance of PUFAs in Tetraselmis, as well as the development of techniques of massive screening of strains which are hyperproductive of PUFAs and of rapid checking of the variations in lipid composition in response to cultivation conditions, which are much simpler and more rapid than traditional techniques.

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Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Nile Red


Saturated fatty acids


Monounsaturated fatty acids


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This work was financed by the program “Canarias Objetivo de Progreso” (2007-2013).

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Correspondence to Héctor Mendoza Guzmán.

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Guzmán, H.M., de la Jara Valido, A., Duarte, L.C. et al. Estimate by means of flow cytometry of variation in composition of fatty acids from Tetraselmis suecica in response to culture conditions. Aquacult Int 18, 189–199 (2010).

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