is an edible brown macroalga, with health benefits associated with its consumption and also a source of bioactive molecules. It is acknowledged that the biochemical composition of macroalgae changes when exposed to different environmental conditions occurring on different habitats, such as the water temperature, and light intensity. In the present study, the polar lipidome of Fucus vesiculosus
was characterized for the first time using modern high-resolution HILIC–MS, and MS/MS approaches, to evaluate the phenotypic variability in two seasons of the year, e.g., winter and spring. A total of 187 molecular species were identified over eighteen classes of glycolipids, phospholipids and betaine lipids. Principal component analysis (PCA) multivariate statistical analysis and cluster analysis of polar lipid classes, polar lipid species and total fatty acids (FA) datasets, showed clustering according to the seasonal groups. While the lipid profile of Fucus vesiculosus
harvested in the winter and spring yielded the same molecular species, the relative abundance of these species was significantly different. In the winter, changes were mainly due to the increased relative abundance of some molecular species of glycolipids and phospholipids, bearing octadeca(poly)enoic (18:3, 18:4) and eicosa(poly)enoic (20:4, 20:5) FA and betaine lipids species with short saturated FA (14:0) and polyunsaturated FA (PUFA). Importantly, glycolipids with n
-3 PUFA and sulfolipids, have been reported to have important biological activities and therapeutic value. Overall, Fucus vesiculosus
is a promising source of bioactive compounds that can be used as functional food or ingredients for human nutrition, feed, pharma, and cosmetic formulations. In this study, samples harvested in the winter season maximized yields of these bioactive components, when compared with samples harvested in the spring.
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