Lipids are undoubtedly the best documented dietary component of Artemia, since it was identified in the late 1970s and early 1980s that variations in nutritional value when using different geographical sources of Artemia for shrimp, prawn, lobster and crab species could be linked to differences in lipid composition (Leger et al. 1986). Studies in Japan and the multidisciplinary 'International Study on Artemia' revealed that the concentration of the essential fatty acid 20:5 n-3 (eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA) in Artemia nauplii was determining its nutritional value for larvae of various marine fish and crustaceans (Leger etal. 1986). Various results were obtained with different batches of the same geographical Artemia source, containing different amounts of EPA and yielding proportional results in growth and survival of mysid shrimps (Mysidopsis bahia) fedthese Artemia (Leger et al. 1985). Levels of this essential fatty acid vary tremendously from strain to strain and even from batch to batch, the causal factor being the fluctuations in biochemical composition of the micro-algae available to the adult population (Lavens et al. 1989). In addition, another even more important essential fatty acid to larval organisms, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA: 22:6 n-3; Watanabe 1993), is almost lacking in Artemia. In contrast to freshwater species, most marine organisms do not have the capacity to biosyn-thesise these essential fatty acids from lower unsaturated fatty acids, for example, 18:3 n-3; thus this nutrient needs to be provided through the food chain. In view of these fatty acid deficiencies in Artemia, appropriate techniques have been developed for improving the lipid profile of deficient Artemia strains (see section 6.2.5).
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