SUMMARY: The biosynthesis of wax esters by the psychrophilic bacterium has been investigated using radio-gas chromatographic analysis of the constituent fatty acid and fatty alcohol moieties. Degradation studies, using α;-oxidation, and the kinetics of labelling from radioactive precursors show that wax ester fatty alcohols are derived from fatty acids. Based on different labelling patterns in wax esters and phospholipids formed from acetate or a saturated fatty acid supplied exogenously, two pathways of wax ester biosynthesis are proposed. It is suggested that wax esters can be derived in the main from either a cytoplasmic or a membrane-bound pool of fatty acyl-coenzyme A thioesters and alcohols, depending on whether the fatty acid is synthesized endogenously or is supplied exogenously.


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