Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 112, Issue 8, pp 1231–1243 | Cite as

Assessment of Rhodopirellula rubra as a supplementary and nutritional food source to the microcrustacean Daphnia magna

  • Maria da Conceição Marinho
  • Olga Maria LageEmail author
  • Carla D. Sousa
  • José Catita
  • Sara C. AntunesEmail author
Original Paper


The daily use of the planctomycete Rhodopirellula rubra as an alternative or supplementary food source for Daphnia magna and its feasibility in the nutrition of transgenerational populations were studied. The life history parameters, fatty acids (saturated, mono- and polyunsaturated; SFAs, MUFAs and PUFAs), glycogen and protein contents of organisms during feeding assays and of the first generation were analysed. An increase in the yields of D. magna with the increase of the cell concentration of R. rubra was evident, but overall, bacteria supplied as the only food source was nutritionally insufficient as observed for all the parameters analysed. However, when R. rubra was added as supplement to the microalgae Raphidocelis subcapitata a significant improvement in the life history parameters was observed namely in the reproductive output and the somatic growth rate. The identified SFAs, MUFAs and PUFAs were the fatty acids more abundant in daphniids, and the feed regimens influenced daphniids fatty acid profiles. Additionally, the mixed diet resulted in a larger number and size of offspring in the different F1 broods as also observed with the results of F0 generation. The pink colouration present in D. magna body and eggs confirmed that bacteria were absorbed, the pigment(s) retained and passed on to the next generation. Our results showed that R. rubra can play an essential role in D. magna diet as a nutritional supplement showing potential biotechnological applications.


Daphnia Planctomycetes Rhodopirelulla rubra Fatty acids Glycogen Protein Fecundity 



Sara C. Antunes received a post doc grant (SFRH/BPD/109951/2015) by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). This research was partially supported by CIIMAR through the Strategic Funding UID/Multi/04423/2013 through national funds provided by FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), in the framework of the programme PT2020.

Authors’ contribution

MCM: experimental work and drafting of the manuscript; OML: design of the experimental work, experimental work and drafting and final revision of the manuscript; CDS: experimental work; JC: experimental work and drafting and final revision of the manuscript; SCA: design of the experimental work, experimental work and drafting and final revision of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or non-arthropod animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto (FCUP)PortoPortugal
  2. 2.Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR/CIMAR)Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de LeixõesMatosinhosPortugal
  3. 3.Paralab, SAValbomPortugal
  4. 4.CEBIMED - Faculdade de Ciências da Saúde da Universidade Fernando Pessoa (FCS-UFP)PortoPortugal

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