Lipid content and composition of fatty acids with 6-25 carbon atoms were studied on strains of the 13 pink or red yeast species belonging to the genus Rhodotorula. The total amount of lipid represented an average of 13% of the dry weight. The neutral and polar lipid fractions were analyzed separately. For all the strains studied, the major fatty acids in both fractions were oleic, linoleic and palmitic acids, which formed 80% of the total number of fatty acids. A notable amount of arachidonic acid, a precursor of eicosanoid hormones, was found in R. acheniorum, R. aurantiaca and R. bacarum. Depending on the strain, 1-10 carotenoid pigments were detected; beta-carotene was always the major carotenoid present.