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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Chromalveolata
Phylum: Heterokontophyta
Class: Labyrinthulomycetes
Order: Labyrinthulales
Family: Thraustochytriaceae
Genus: Schizochytrium
S. Goldst. & Belsky emend. T. Booth & C. E. Mill. [1]

Schizochytrium is a genus of unicellular protists found in coastal marine habitats. They are assigned to the stramenopiles, a group which also contains kelp and various of micro-algae. Certain species produce large amounts of docosahexaenoic acid[2] and are grown commercially for production of this oil for biofeeds, biomass and biofuels.

Life cycle[edit]

There are several stages in the life cycle. The feeding form has a stiff, rounded body with cellular extensions used in feeding. Cells can transform into mobile flagellated cells with stiff tripartite hairs typical of stramenopiles. Cells can also grow and divide to form a cluster of cells which may become a sorus that produces biflagellate zoospores.


  1. ^ Rinka Yokoyama & Daiske Honda (2007). "Taxonomic rearrangement of the genus Schizochytrium sensu lato based on morphology, chemotaxonomic characteristics, and 18S rRNA gene phylogeny (Thraustochytriaceae, Labyrinthulomycetes): emendation for Schizochytrium and erection of Aurantiochytrium and Oblongichytrium gen. nov.". Mycoscience 48 (4): 199–211. doi:10.1007/s10267-006-0362-0. 
  2. ^ Yue Jiang, King-Wai Fan, Raymond Tsz-Yeung Wong & Feng Chen (2004). "Fatty acid composition and squalene content of the marine microalga Schizochytrium mangrovei". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52 (5): 1196–1200. doi:10.1021/jf035004c. PMID 14995120.