The influence of diet on fatty acids in the egg yolk of green sea turtles, Chelonia mydas

J Comp Physiol B. 2008 May;178(4):495-500. doi: 10.1007/s00360-007-0242-8. Epub 2008 Jan 9.


Fatty acid concentrations found in the yolk of green sea turtles reflect differences in the diet of the mothers. All of the 12 fatty acids measured in yolk samples were significantly different between eggs produced from the pellet and wild-type diets. However, the relative pattern of yolk fatty acids in the green turtle mirrored those of other reptiles. Yolk samples contained mostly (63-67%) 14:0. 16:0, 16:1n-7 and 18:1n-9. Yolks from captive animals on pellet diet contained an additional 17.64% of the total yolk lipid as 12:0 and 18:2n-6. Wild yolks contained an extra 11.41% of lipid as 18:0 and 18:1n-7. Selection of fatty acids for the yolk should balance the energetic and anabolic needs of the embryo. Eggs are provisioned based on maternal metabolism of available nutrients and subtle differences between natural foods and those available in captivity could affect the viability of future eggs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Egg Yolk / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hydrocharitaceae*
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Turtles / metabolism*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids