, Volume 129, Issue 2, pp 255-265

Amino acid metabolism and protein turnover in larval turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) fed natural zooplankton or Artemia

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The present paper studied the influence of different food regimes on the free amino acid (FAA) pool, the rate of protein turnover, the flux of amino acids, and their relation to growth of larval turbot (Scophthalmus maximus L.) from first feeding until metamorphosis. The amino acid profile of protein was stable during the larval period although some small, but significant, differences were found. Turbot larvae had proteins which were rich in leucine and aspartate, and poor in glutamate, suggesting a high leucine requirement. The profile of the FAA pool was highly variable and quite different from the amino acid profile in protein. The proportion of essential FAA decreased with development. High contents of free tyrosine and phenylalanine were found on Day 3, while free taurine was present at high levels throughout the experimental period. Larval growth rates were positively correlated with taurine levels, suggesting a dietary dependency for taurine and/or sulphur amino acids. Reduced growth rates in Artemia-fed larvae were associated with lower levels of free methionine, indicating that this diet is deficient in methionine for turbot larvae. Leucine might also be limiting turbot growth as the different diet organisms had lower levels of this amino acid in the free pool than was found in the larval protein. A previously presented model was used to describe the flux of amino acids in growing turbot larvae. The FAA pool was found to be small and variable. It was estimated that the daily dietary amino acid intake might be up to ten times the larval FAA pool. In addition, protein synthesis and protein degradation might daily remove and return, respectively, the equivalent of up to 20 and 10 times the size of the FAA pool. In an early phase (Day 11) high growth rates were associated with a relatively low protein turnover, while at a later stage (Day 17), a much higher turnover was observed.

Received: 19 March 1997 / Accepted: 14 April 1997