- We have hypothesized that among algae of alpine environment there could be strains particularly rich in long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). Indeed, the chlorophyte (Trebuxiophyceae) Parietochloris incisa isolated from Mt. Tateyama, Japan, was found to be the richest plant source of the pharmaceutically valuable LC-PUFA, arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4omega6). The alga is also extremely rich in triacylglycerols (TAG), which reaches 43% (of total fatty acids) in the logarithmic phase and up to 77% in the stationary phase. In contrast to most algae whose TAG are made of mainly saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, TAG of P. incisa are the major lipid class where AA is deposited, reaching up to 47% in the stationary phase. Except for the presence of AA, the PUFA composition of the chloroplastic lipids resembled that of green algae, consisting predominantly of C(16) and C(18) PUFAs. The composition of the extrachloroplastic lipids is rare, including phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) as well as diacylglyceryltrimethylhomoserine (DGTS). PC and PE are particularly rich in AA and are also the major depots of the presumed precursors of AA, l8:3omega6 and 20:3omega6, respectively.