The biochemical composition of Daphnia magna Straus, the dominant planktonic crustacean of the waste stabilisation pond of Differdange (Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg), was quantitatively determined from October 1993 to July 1994. Over the sampling period, the average composition (mean ± S.D.) was 271 ± 64 mg proteins.g-1 dry weight (DW), 100 ± 28 mg lipids.g-1 (DW), 96 ± 58 μg carotenoids.g-1 (DW), 49 ± 14 mg chitin.g-1 (DW) and 125 ± 78 mg ash.g-1 (DW). The seasonal variations of the biochemical composition were related to several ecological variables (water temperature, dissolved oxygen concentration, pH, water transparency, chlorophyll a concentration and D. magna biomass). The chitin content was positively correlated to the water temperature as a result of the strong influence of this later variable on the moulting rate of the daphnids and, subsequently, on the chitin synthesis by these organisms. The carotenoid content was positively correlated to the water transparency as a result of their photoprotective role in daphnids. The fluctuations of the lipid, protein and ash levels in D. magna depended to the food availability. Despite a seasonal variation in the biochemical composition, D. magna appeared to have adequate lipid and protein levels to be used in aquaculture. Its carotenoid content is similar to fish meals used to color salmonid flesh and these organisms could be used for this purpose. The prospect of using D. magna for chitin extraction is worth considering with respect to its significant chitin content, especially if highly valuable applications are aimed.