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Mar. Drugs 2012, 10(12), 2698-2714; doi:10.3390/md10122698

Lipids of Prokaryotic Origin at the Base of Marine Food Webs

1,*  and 2
1 IBB-Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre for Biological and Chemical Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Av. Rovisco Pais, Lisbon 1049-001, Portugal 2 Centre for Environmental Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon, Campo Grande C2, Lisbon 1749-016, Portugal
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 October 2012 / Revised: 14 November 2012 / Accepted: 22 November 2012 / Published: 29 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Lipids)
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In particular niches of the marine environment, such as abyssal trenches, icy waters and hot vents, the base of the food web is composed of bacteria and archaea that have developed strategies to survive and thrive under the most extreme conditions. Some of these organisms are considered “extremophiles” and modulate the fatty acid composition of their phospholipids to maintain the adequate fluidity of the cellular membrane under cold/hot temperatures, elevated pressure, high/low salinity and pH. Bacterial cells are even able to produce polyunsaturated fatty acids, contrarily to what was considered until the 1990s, helping the regulation of the membrane fluidity triggered by temperature and pressure and providing protection from oxidative stress. In marine ecosystems, bacteria may either act as a sink of carbon, contribute to nutrient recycling to photo-autotrophs or bacterial organic matter may be transferred to other trophic links in aquatic food webs. The present work aims to provide a comprehensive review on lipid production in bacteria and archaea and to discuss how their lipids, of both heterotrophic and chemoautotrophic origin, contribute to marine food webs.
Keywords: phospholipid; fatty acids; polyunsaturated fatty acids; extremophile; bacteria; archaea; trophic web phospholipid; fatty acids; polyunsaturated fatty acids; extremophile; bacteria; archaea; trophic web
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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de Carvalho, C.C.C.R.; Caramujo, M.J. Lipids of Prokaryotic Origin at the Base of Marine Food Webs. Mar. Drugs 2012, 10, 2698-2714.

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