The Effect of Environmental Conditions on Fatty Acid Composition of the Red Alga Porphyridium Cruentum

  • Zvi Cohen
  • Avigad Vonshak
  • Amos Richmond


The unicellular red alga Porphyridiurn cruentum belongs to a selected group of algae that contains significant amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are prostaglandin precursors. This group of fatty acids is of potential value as starting materials for prostanglandin synthesis and of potential clinical value for blood cholesterol reduction, prevention of blood platelet aggregation, and treatment of premenstrual syndrome (1). Porphyridium cultivation was suggested as a source for arachidonic acid (2, 3). However, to be able to produce arachidonic acid or EPA on a large scale, the effects of environmental factors must be known and controlled. The fatty acid distribution in the exponential growth phase was reported to be erratic, and Porphyridum cultures cultivated under seemingly identical conditions produced fatty acids having very different fatty acid compositions (4, 5). In an attempt to shed some light on this problem, we studied the effects of temperature, light and nitrogen content of the medium on the fatty acid distribution of Porphyridium.


Fatty Acid Composition Fatty Acid Content Nitrogen Starvation Premenstrual Syndrome Fatty Acid Distribution 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zvi Cohen
    • 1
  • Avigad Vonshak
    • 1
  • Amos Richmond
    • 1
  1. 1.Algal Biotechnology Laboratory, Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert ResearchBen-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede-Boqer CampusIsrael

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