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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]

S. aggregatum[2]
S. limacinum[3]
S. minutum[2]

Schizochytrium is a genus of unicellular protists found in coastal marine habitats in the family Thraustochytriaceae. They are assigned to the stramenopiles, a group which also contains kelp and various microalgae.

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.

Relation to humans[edit]

Certain species produce large amounts of docosahexaenoic acid[4] and are grown commercially for production of this oil for animal feeds, biomass and biofuels. In 2016 juvenile Nile tilapia were given a food containing dried Schizochytrium in place of fish oil. When compared to a control group raised on regular food, they exhibited higher weight gain and better food-to-growth conversion, plus their flesh was higher in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.[5][6]


  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. ^ a b UniProt
  3. ^ Honda, Daiske; Yokochi, Toshihiro; Nakahara, Toro; Erata, Mayumi; Higashihara, Takanori (April 1998). "Schizochytrium limacinum sp. nov., a new thraustochytrid from a mangrove area in the west Pacific Ocean". Mycological Research. 102 (4): 439–448. doi:10.1017/S0953756297005170. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Coxworth, Ben (June 6, 2016). "Scientists take the fish out of fish food". Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  6. ^ Sarker, Pallab K.; Kapuscinski, Anne R.; Lanois, Alison J.; Livesey, Erin D.; Bernhard, Katie P.; Coley, Mariah L. (2016-06-03). "Towards Sustainable Aquafeeds: Complete Substitution of Fish Oil with Marine Microalga Schizochytrium sp. Improves Growth and Fatty Acid Deposition in Juvenile Nile Tilapia ( Oreochromis niloticus )". PLOS ONE. 11 (6): e0156684. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156684. ISSN 1932-6203.