Phlorotannins are considered inter alia to act protective to a variety of stressors, while lipids in spores are known to fuel various metabolic processes during spore release and settlement. Here, phlorotannin production in zoospores/juvenile gametophytes in relation to lipid metabolism was investigated for the first time in order to study-related metabolic costs. The experiment was carried out in Ny-lesund (Svalbard, Arctic) within the development from spores to juvenile gametophytes of the brown alga Saccharina latissima over 20 days. In the release stage, the total phlorotannin content of single zoospores was 1.5 x 10(-7) mu g and 1.9 x 10(-7) mu g in the surrounding medium. Upon release, the total amount of lipids was 1.76 x 10(-5) mu g lipid zoospore(-1) containing the major fatty acids 16:0 and 18:0, 18:1(n-9), 18:2 (n-6), 18:3(n-3), 20:4(n-6), and 20:5(n-3). During development from spores to gametophytes, a decrease in fatty acids was observed via electron microscopy and a decrease in the fatty acid 18:1(n-9) from 45 to 30% was measured by gas chromatography in particular. While phlorotannin content within the spores remained stable, phlorotannins accumulated in the surrounding medium of gametophytes to 4.0 x 10(-7) mu g phlorotannins spore(-1) indicating exudation processes. Results obtained support the key and multifunctional role of lipids in zoospore/gametophyte metabolism and may indicate that gametophytes of S. latissima need approximately 10 days to switch to photo-autotrophic strategies, becoming independent of storage lipids. In addition, fatty acids might represent an essential energy source to fuel adaptive responses.
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