Seasonal variations of biochemical, pigment, fatty acid, and sterol compositions in female Crassostrea corteziensis oysters in relation to the reproductive cycle.Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Oct; 163(2):172-83.CB
Wild female Crassostrea corteziensis oyster (n=245) were analyzed over one year to understand the main ecophysiological events associated to gonad development. Different indicators (mainly biochemical) were analyzed to infer: i) utilization and accumulation of energy reserves (e.g. neutral lipids, carbohydrates, proteins; vitellogenin), ii) membrane components provided by the diet as essential nutrients and indicative of cell proliferation (e.g. highly unsaturated fatty acids linked to phospholipids, sterols), iii) indicators of food availability (chlorophyll a in water, pigments in tissues, specific fatty acids and sterols), iv) gonad development (e.g. gonad coverage area, vitellin). A PCA analysis was applied to 269 measured variables. The first PC (PC1) was composed of total carbohydrate and lipid concentration, percentage of esterified sterols, fatty acids specific of diatoms; 16:1n-7/16:0, 20:5n-3 in neutral lipids with positive loadings and non methylene-interrupted fatty acids (NMI) in neutral lipids with negative loadings. The second PC (PC2) was composed of 18:4n-3 in lipid reserves and the concentration of zeaxanthin, a pigment typical of cyanobacteria with positive loadings and the proportion of 20:4n-6 in polar lipids with negative loading. The third PC (PC3) was composed of gonad coverage area (GCA) and the concentration of vitellin. Variation in GCA confirms that gonad development began in April with an extended period of spawning and rematuration from April to November. The PCA further shows that a second period of minimal maturation from November to March corresponds to the accumulation of reserves (PC1) together with an initial high availability of food (PC2) at the beginning of this period. These two periods are in accordance with the classical periods of allocation of energy to reserves followed by gonad development reported for several mollusks.