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The mean elemental (C, H, N) and biochemical composition (lipids, carbohydrates and proteins) of some abundant crustacean zooplankton species of Italian insubric lakes has been estimated by the analysis of samples collected at different seasons from various environments (Lake Maggiore, Lake Varese, Lake Comabbio, Lake Monate). From each sample an adequate number of specimens of each abundant species was sorted and analyzed by a CHN elemental analyzer. The percentage of lipids, carbohydrates and proteins and the calorific content were calculated from the elemental composition according to Gnaiger & Bitterlich (1984). Inter- and intraspecific variability of biochemical composition was quite high, while elemental composition and calorific content were less variable. An estimate of the mean elemental and biochemical composition of each species was obtained by pooling the data. These mean values have been used to estimate the pools of elements and compounds in the crustacean zooplankton of Lake Comabbio to provide an example of the importance of a multiple approach in zooplankton studies.
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