Fatty Acids in Blue-Green Algae: Possible Relation to Phylogenetic Position

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  03 May 1968:
Vol. 160, Issue 3827, pp. 545-547
DOI: 10.1126/science.160.3827.545


Analyses of the lipids in five species of blue-green algae show that the fatty acids are largely the C16 and C18 acids. The only alga that could be grown heterotrophically, Chlorogloea, formed the triply unsaturated C18 acid in the light but only the doubly unsaturated C18 acid in the dark. Examination of these results and the results of others suggest that, except for one species, the more highly unsaturated acids are found in the morphologically more complex algae. The fatty acid compositions of blue-green algae are different from the fatty acid composition of the other prokaryotic organisms, the bacteria. It is speculated that the diversity of the patterns of fatty acid composition among the blue-green algae could be of phylogenetic significance.