Antarctic Science



Papers—Life Sciences and Oceanography

Polyunsaturated fatty acids in Antarctic bacteria


David S. Nichols a1a2, Peter D. Nichols a2a3 and Tom A. McMeekin a1a3
a1 ACAM, Department of Agricultural Science and IASOS, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252C, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
a2 CSIRO Division of Oceanography, Marine Laboratories, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
a3 CRC for the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Environment, University of Tasmania, GPO Box 252C, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia

Article author query
nichols d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
nichols p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mcmeekin t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

Thirty eight strains of Antarctic bacteria were screened for the ability to produce polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Five strains contained eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5ω3) in the range of trace to 3.3% of total fatty acids, and up to 1.4 mg g-1 dry weight. Thirteen strains produced polyunsaturates including 18:2ω6, 18:3ω3, 18:4ω3 and 20:4ω6 in the range of trace to 7.0% of total fatty acids. Although the data set is currently small, the proportion of Antarctic strains found to produce PUFA's is higher than that found for temperate marine bacteria (and is similar to that recorded for barophilic bacteria). This suggests that the Antarctic environment has naturally selected for bacterial strains capable of maintaining membrane lipid fluidity by the production of PUFA. These results highlight the potential of Antarctic bacteria for possible consideration in the industrial production of PUFA. These results highlight the potential of Antarctic bacteria for possible consideration in the industrial production of PUFA. The fatty acid composition of Flectobacillus glomeratus is reported and discussed in relation to other closely related Antarctic flavobacteria. Fatty acid composition is also shown to represent an important chemotaxonomic tool to aid with the identification of Antarctic bacteria.

(Received June 25 1992)
(Accepted October 28 1992)


Key Words: polyunsaturated fatty acids; bacteria; chemotaxonomy; Antarctica.


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