Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The utilisation of yolk phosphoglycerides by the alligator during embryonic development

  • 28 Accesses

  • 4 Citations


A study was made of the concentrations and fatty acid compositions of the major phosphoglycerides in the yolk of the alligator egg on the 8th and 75th days of incubation. The major phosphoglycerides were phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl ethanolamine which at the start of incubation accounted for 72 and 18%, respectively, of total phosphoglyceride. Phosphoglycerides were characterised by low levels of linoleic acid but extremely high levels of C20 and C22 polyunsaturates. The extensive absorption of phosphoglyceride over the incubation period was accompanied by a reduction in percentage of phosphoglyceride within the residual yolk lipid, a reduction in the proportion of phosphatidyl choline within the total phosphoglyceride, and increases in the proportions of phosphatidyl ethanolamine and lyso-phosphatidyl choline. There were small but wide-spread changes in the fatty acid composition of the phosphatidyl choline during incubation. Within the phosphatidyl ethanolamine and phosphatidyl serine fractions there were very large reductions in the C20 and C22 polyunsaturated fatty acid levels. The phosphoglyceride changes are discussed with respect to the unique role of yolk lipid absorption in the nutrition of the developing embryo.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Christie WW (1982) Lipid analysis. Pergamon Press, Oxford

  2. Christie WW, Noble RC, Moore JH (1970) Determination of lipid classes by a gas-chromatographic procedure. Analyst 95:940–945

  3. Deeming DC, Ferguson MWJ (1989) Effects of incubation temperature on the growth and development of Alligator mississippiensis. J Comp Physiol B159:183–193

  4. Gurr MI, Robinson MP, James AT (1969) The mechanism for formation of polyunsaturated fatty acids by photosynthetic tissue. Eur J Biochem 9:70–78

  5. Noble RC (1987a) Egg lipids. In: Wells RG, Belyavin CG (eds) Egg quality: Current patterns and recent advances. Butterworths, London, pp 159–177

  6. Noble RC (1987b) Lipid metabolism in the chick embryo: some recent ideas. J Exp Zool (Suppl. 1) 65–73

  7. Noble RC (1990) Comparative composition and utilisation of yolk lipid by avians and reptiles. In: Ferguson MWJ, Deeming DC (eds) Physical influences on embryonic development in birds and reptiles. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (in press)

  8. Noble RC, Cocchi M (1989) The relationship between the supply and demand for essential polyunsaturated fatty acids during mammalian and avian embryonic development. Res Dev Agric 6:65–69

  9. Noble RC, Deeming DC, Ferguson MWJ, McCartney R (1990) Changes in the lipid and fatty acid composition of the yolk during embryonic development of the alligator (Alligator mississippientsis). Comp Biochem Physiol 96B:183–187

  10. Noble RC, Moore JH (1964) Studies on the lipid metabolism of the chick embryo. Can J Biochem 42:1729–1741

  11. Noble RC, Moore JH (1965) Metabolism of the yolk phospholipids by the developing chick embryo. Can J Biochem 43:1677–1686

  12. Noble RC, Moore JH (1967) The transport of phospholipids from the yolk to the yolk-sac membrane during the development of the chick embryo. Can J Biochem 45:1125–1133

  13. Romanoff AL, Romanoff AJ (1949) The avian egg. John Wiley and Sons, New York

  14. Skipski VP, Peterson RF, Barclay M (1964) Quantitative analysis of phospholipids by thin layer chromatography. Biochem J 90:374–378

  15. Strickland KP (1973) The chemistry of phospholipids. In: Ansell GB, Dawson RMC, Hawthorne JN (eds) Form and function of phospholipids. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 9–42

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to R. C. Noble.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Noble, R.C., Deeming, D.C., Ferguson, M.W.J. et al. The utilisation of yolk phosphoglycerides by the alligator during embryonic development. J Comp Physiol B 161, 383–386 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00260797

Download citation

Key words

  • Phosphoglycerides
  • Yolk development
  • Embryo
  • Alligator