Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Terpenoid quinones and steroids in the nutrition of Oxyrrhis marina

M. R. Droopa1 and J. F. Pennocka2*

a1 Scottish Marine Biological Associations Oban, Scotland

a2 Department Of Biochemistry, University Of Liverpool


Oxyrrhis marina Dujardin is among the few phagotrophic micro-organisms, and the only dinoflagellate with this mode of nutrition, to have been cultivated under axenic conditions. In common with most other phagotrophs studied, Oxyrrhis had to be supplied with a natural source of lipid growth factors for axenic cultivation, lemon rind or grass extracts in this instance (Droop, 1959). The eventual replacement of these natural sources by ubiquinone (Droop & Doyle, 1966) cleared the way for the development of a completely denned culture medium for Oxyrrhis and the completion of the nutritional study, the water-soluble nutrients having been fully worked out previously (Droop, 1959). However, identification of this requirement immediately raises two questions. The answer to the first, whether ubiquinone is the only lipid required, appears to be in the negative, and the details of an additional, fairly specific, steroid requirement are presented in the second part of this paper. The other question concerns the specificity of the quinone requirement. Is the quinone merely a convenient source of the benzene ring – mammals require at least one aromatic compound in the diet – or does it act as a true growth factor, in which case the requirement would be unique and would have more than protozoological interest?


* Supported in part by an S.R.C. Research Grant.