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Fatty acid, carotenoid and vitamin A composition of tissues of free living gulls.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Peter F. Surai
  • Nick J. Royle
  • Nick H. C. Sparks
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>07/2000
<mark>Journal</mark>Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number3
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)387-396
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The aim of this study was to investigate fatty acid and carotenoid profile as well as vitamin A (retinol and retinol esters) content in gull (Larus fucus) tissues. Palmitic (16:0) and stearic (18:0) fatty acids were major saturates in all the tissues studied. Oleic acid (18:1n-9) was the major monounsaturate in the tissue phospholipids varying from 11.9% (liver) up to 18.2% (lung). Arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) was the major unsaturate in the phospholipid fraction in all the tissues. Liver contained the highest total carotenoid concentration which was 5 and 7 fold higher compared to kidney and pancreas. In the liver β-carotene was major carotenoid. In contrast, in all other tissues β-carotene was minor fraction with lutein being major carotenoid. Zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and echinenone were also identified in the gull tissues. Liver and kidney were characterised by the highest vitamin A concentrations (1067.5 and 867.5 μg/g, respectively). Retinol comprised from 55.3% (pancreas) down to 8% (kidney) of the total vitamin A but was not detected in the abdominal fat. Retinyl palmitate was the major retinyl ester in the liver, kidney and heart (44.2; 38.1 and 46.0% of total retinyl esters). In muscles and abdominal fat retinyl stearate was the major retinyl ester fraction. Therefore high proportions of β-carotene were found in gull liver and peripheral tissues were enriched by lutein and zeaxanthin compared to the liver, a very high concentration of retinyl esters in the kidney was observed and tissue-specificity in retinyl ester proportions in peripheral tissues was found.