SUMMARY: The effect of light and dark incubation on the ultrastructure, pigments and lipids of five marine cyanobacteria was studied. All light-grown cyanobacteria contained in their lipid extracts the four major lipid classes characteristic of chloroplasts, namely monogalactosyldiacylglycerols, digalactosyldiacylglycerols, sulphoquinovosyldiacylglycerols, and phosphatidyl glycerols. However, the fatty acid patterns of the cyanobacterial total lipids and individual lipid classes were different from those of chloroplasts, and responded differently to dark incubation. In two cyanobacteria the fatty acid patterns of total lipids from light- and dark-incubated cultures were similar, but in the other three, dark incubation was associated with increased levels of oleic acid in the total lipids and individual lipid classes. The decrease of linolenic acid known to occur in lipids from photosynthetic eukaryotes in response to dark incubation was recorded only in However, linolenic acid was not esterified in monogalactosyldiacylglycerols, as it is in chloroplasts. We also found the class of alcohol glycosides in three non-heterocystous cyanobacteria.


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