Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 107–113 | Cite as

A comparison of the major lipid classes and fatty acid composition of marine unicellular cyanobacteria with freshwater species

  • Margaret V. Merritt
  • Sarah P. Rosenstein
  • Christine Loh Rachel
  • Hsui-sui Chou
  • Mary M. Allen
Original Papers


The fatty acid composition of two motile (strains WH 8113 and WH 8103) and one nonmotile (strain WH 7803) marine cyanobacteria has been determined and compared with two freshwater unicellular Synechocystis species (strain PCC 6308 and PCC 6803). The fatty acid composition of lipid extracts of isolated membranes from Synechocystis PCC 6803 was found to be identical to that of whole cells. All the marine strains contained myristic acid (14:0) as the major fatty acid, with only traces of polyunsaturated fatty acids. This composition is similar to Synechocystis PCC 6308. The major lipid classes of the nonmotile marine strain were identified as digalactosyl diacylglycerol, monogalactosyl diacylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, and sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol, identical to those found in other cyanobacteria.

Key words

Cyanobacteria Lipids Fatty acids Synechocystis Synechococcus Marine picoplankton 



Digalactosyl diacylglycerol






sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol


gas chromatography


mass spectrometry


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret V. Merritt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah P. Rosenstein
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christine Loh Rachel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hsui-sui Chou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mary M. Allen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA

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