Nematodes As Important Source for Omega 3 Long-Chain Fatty Acids in the Soil Food Web and the Impact in Nutrition for Higher Trophic Levels


Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega-3 family (w3 LC-PUFAs) are well recognized as compounds of great physiological importance for animals, predominantly vertebrates. This is due to the fact that most taxa do not possess specific enzymes (i.e. delta15/omega3 desaturases) to insert a double bound in the w3 position, yet these are known in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Small soil invertebrates, in particular nematodes, likely form a major source for these important nutrient compounds, generally not widely available in terrestrial food webs. The aim of this project is to determine how common the metabolic capability to de novo synthesize LC-PUFAs is in soil nematodes, and how this does enhance or even determine the availability of w3 LC-PUFAs of consumers (and in turn their performance). To achieve these goals we will combine genetic (approval of contributing genes) and physiological (fatty acid profiling, consumer growth and reproduction) approaches to gain deep understanding in the role of nematode derived w3 LC-PUFAs in the food web. These results will be completed by empirical data from a field survey on the distribution of w3 LC-PUFAs across the fauna of forest soil communities. In sum, the proposed project will elucidate, whether w3 LC-PUFAs form a driving force in the soil food web and which basal groups serve a major source.


Principal Investigators
Rueß, Liliane Prof. Dr. (Details) (Ecology)

Duration of Project
Start date: 03/2016
End date: 02/2019

Last updated on 2020-04-11 at 13:08