In this paper is presented the percentage of fatty acids composition of three Artemia franciscana Mexican populations of epicontinentals waters; two are from natural environments (Coahuila and San Luis Potosí) and one (Texcoco) is a culture fed with Spirulina. Determination of fatty acids composition in each population, was performed by extraction of total lipid by the soxhlet method and the fatty acids methyl esters were determined by gas chromatography. The results show that Artemia of Texcoco contains the six fatty acids recommended for the culture of fish and crustaceans (16:0; 16:1; 18:1; 18:2w6; 18:3w3 and 20:5w3); Artemia from San Luis Potosí showed the poorest content in these acids and Artemia from Coahuila, although it showed a wide profile, it lacks the linolenic acid. When comparing results among the three populations with ecological data that have been published, it can be pointed out that the environment is decisive for this crustacean; Artemia from Texcoco fed with Spirulina showed the largest variety of fatty acids; the other two populations are wild, and lives in different habitats, Artemia of Coahuila is found in waters that are rich in sulfates and Artemia of San Luis Potosí lives in evaporation saltern ponds, built with stone blocks and therefore with scarce phytoplankton growth. Both Artemia populations showed deficiencies in essential fatty acids, mainly the last one.
Keywords: fatty acids composition, artemia, live food supply, aquiculture, nutritional quality