, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 503–511 | Cite as

Essential Fatty Acid Assimilation and Synthesis in Larvae of the Bivalve Crassostrea gigas

  • Fiz da Costa
  • René Robert
  • Claudie Quéré
  • Gary H. Wikfors
  • Philippe SoudantEmail author
Original Article


Essential fatty acids (EFA) are important for bivalve larval survival and growth. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively assess for the first time through a mass-balance approach dietary EFA incorporation and synthesis within Crassostrea gigas larvae. A first experiment was carried out using two microalgae, Tisochrysis lutea (T) and Chaetoceros neogracile (Cg), as mono- and bi-specific diets. A second experiment using a similar design was performed to confirm and extend the results obtained in the first. Flow-through larval rearing was used for accurate control of food supply and measurement of ingestion. Non-methylene-interrupted fatty acids were synthetized from precursors supplied in the diet: 16:1n-7 and 18:1n-9, mediated by Δ5 desaturase. Moreover, this Δ5 desaturase presumably allowed larvae to convert 20:3n-6 and 20:4n-3 to 20:4n-6 and 20:5n-3, respectively, when the product EFA were poorly or not supplied in the diet, as when larvae were fed T exclusively. Under our experimental conditions, none of the diets induced 22:6n-3 synthesis; however, 22:6n-3 incorporation into larval tissues occurred selectively under non-limiting dietary supply to maintain optimal levels in the larvae. This combination of flow-through larval rearing and biochemical analysis of FA levels could be applied to additional dietary experiments to precisely define optimal levels of EFA supply.


Fatty acid Larvae Lipids Metabolism Oyster Synthesis 



Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry


Chaetoceros neogracile




Essential fatty acid(s)


Fatty acid(s)


Fatty acyl desaturase


Fatty acid methyl ester(s)


Non-methylene-interrupted fatty acid(s)


Photosynthetically active radiation


Polyunsaturated fatty acid(s)


Polyvinyl chloride


Tisochrysis lutea



The authors would like to acknowledge the technical staff of the experimental mollusk hatchery of Argenton, B. Petton, C. Mingant, I. Quéau and L. Lebrun for assistance in broodstock conditioning, larval rearing and phytoplankton culture. F. da Costa was funded through a postdoctoral fellowship from the Fundación Juana de Vega (Spain) and hosted at IFREMER.


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiz da Costa
    • 1
    • 2
  • René Robert
    • 1
    • 3
  • Claudie Quéré
    • 1
  • Gary H. Wikfors
    • 4
  • Philippe Soudant
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Ifremer/Laboratoire des sciences de l’Environnement Marin (UMR 6539, LEMAR)PlouzanéFrance
  2. 2.Novostrea BretagneSarzeauFrance
  3. 3.Ifremer, Unité Littoral, Centre BretagnePlouzanéFrance
  4. 4.Northeast Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, NOAAMilfordUSA
  5. 5.Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin (UMR 6539, LEMAR), IUEM/UBO, Technopole Brest IroisePlouzanéFrance

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