, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 289-298

Proximate biochemical composition and caloric content calculated from elemental CHN analysis: a stoichiometric concept

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Carbohydrate, lipid, and protein compositions are stoichiometrically related to organic CHN (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen) contents. Elemental CHN analyses of total biomass and ash, therefore, provide a basis for the calculation of proximate biochemical composition and bomb caloric value. The classical nitrogen to protein conversion factor (6.25) should be replaced by 5.8±0.13. A linear relation exists between the mass fraction of non-protein carbon and the carbohydrate and lipid content. Residual water in dry organic matter can be estimated with the additional information derived from hydrogen measurements.

The stoichiometric CHN method and direct biochemical analysis agreed within 10% of ash-free dry biomass (for muscle, liver and fat tissue of silver carp; gut contents composed of detritus and algae; commercial fish food). The detrital material, however, had to be corrected for non-protein nitrogen.

A linear relationship between bomb caloric value and organic carbon fractions was derived on the basis of thermodynamic and stoichiometric principles, in agreement with experimental data published for bacteria, algae, protozoa and invertebrates. The highly automatic stoichiometric CHN method for the separation of nutrient contents in biomass extends existing ecophysiological concepts for the construction of balanced carbon and nitrogen, as well as biochemical and energy budgets.

Offprint requests to: Institut für Zoologie, Abt. Zoophysiologie, Universität Innsbruck, Peter-Mayr-Str. 1A, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria