, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 577–590 | Cite as

Inter-Tissue Differences in Fatty Acid Incorporation as a Result of Dietary Oil Manipulation in Port Jackson Sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni)

  • Crystal L. Beckmann
  • James G. Mitchell
  • David A. J. Stone
  • Charlie Huveneers
Original Article


Fatty acid profile analysis is a tool for dietary investigation that may complement traditional stomach contents analysis. While recent studies have shown that the liver of sharks fed different diets have differing fatty acid profiles, the degree to which diet is reflected in shark blood serum and muscle tissue is still poorly understood. An 18-week controlled feeding experiment was undertaken using captive Port Jackson sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni). Sharks were fed exclusive diets of artificial pellets treated with fish or poultry oil and sampled every 6 weeks. The fatty acid profiles from liver, blood serum, and muscle were affected differently, with the period from which significant differences were observed varying by tissue and diet type. The total fatty acid profiles of fish oil and poultry oil fed sharks were significantly different from week 12 onwards in the liver and blood serum, but significant differences were only observed by week 18 in the muscle tissue of sharks fed different diets. The drivers of dissimilarity which aligned with dietary input were 14:0, 18:2n-6, 20:5n-3, 18:1n-9 and 22:6n-3 in the liver and blood serum. Dietary fatty acids accumulated more consistently in the liver than in the blood plasma or muscle, likely due to its role as the central organ for fat processing and storage. Blood serum and muscle fatty acid profiles were influenced by diet, but fluctuated over-time. The low level of correlation between diet and muscle FA profiles is likely a result of low levels of fat (<1 %) in the muscle and the domination of structural, cell-membrane phospholipids in shark muscle tissues. Our findings describe inter-tissue differences in the incorporation of fatty acids from the diet to consumer, which should be taken into account when interpreting dietary patterns from fatty acid profiles.


Captive feeding trial Chondrichthyan Lipid Free fatty acid Turnover Metabolism Essential fatty acid 



Condition factor


Fatty acid(s)


Hepatosomatic index


Monounsaturated fatty acid(s)


Polyunsaturated fatty acid(s)


Saturated fatty acid(s)



The present study was supported through the ANZ Trustees Foundation—Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment; C. Beckmann received an Australian Postgraduate Award to conduct this research. We thank the GSV and SG prawn fleet and in particular G. Hooper and C. Dixon from SARDI for their assistance in sample collection. Thanks to J. Bowyer for assistance with pellet diet analysis. Thanks to R. Cultura (SARDI Australasian Experimental Stockfeed Extrusion Centre, Roseworthy, SA) for manufacturing the oil pellets, and D. Apps from FOODPlus FA lab for advice regarding analysis. Research was conducted under the Flinders University animal ethics permit E-301 and SARDI collection permit 9902364. C. Huveneers and D. Stone are partly funded by Marine Innovation South Australia (MISA). This is contribution 13 of the Southern Shark Ecology Group.

Supplementary material

11745_2014_3887_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 12 kb)


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Copyright information

© AOCS 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Crystal L. Beckmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • James G. Mitchell
    • 1
  • David A. J. Stone
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charlie Huveneers
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Marine Innovation Southern Australia, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)Aquatic Sciences CentreWest BeachAustralia

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