Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 293–303 | Cite as

Do digestive enzymes set a physiological limit on growth rate and food conversion efficiency in the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)?

  • H. Lemieux
  • P. Blier
  • J.-D. Dutil


The objective of this study was to determine the potential sites of maximal growth limitation in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Forty cod were reared in ten sea water tanks. Fish were randomly divided into 5 groups, a control group (injected with saline solution) and 4 experimental groups that received different levels of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST: 1.0, 2.0, 4.0 and 10.0 μg g fish−1 2 weeks−1) by injection in the abdominal cavity. Fish were fed ad libitum 3 times a week during four weeks. We measured individual body mass, growth rate, food intake and food conversion efficiency. At the end of the experiment, we measured the activity of acid proteases in the stomach; trypsin and chymotrypsin in the pyloric caeca; alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and glutamyltransferase (GGT) in the intestine. No significant differences were observed in growth rate, food intake or food conversion efficiency among the five groups. Trypsin, chymotrypsin, ALP and GGT activities when expressed in U g fish−1 were correlated with growth rate. These enzymes were also correlated with food ingestion except for trypsin when expressed in U mg protein−1. Trypsin was the only enzyme that showed a significant correlation with food conversion efficiency. Our conclusion is that, at the level of digestion, trypsin is the only enzyme measured that could be suspected to potentially limit growth rate in cod.

acid proteases alkaline phosphatase chymotrypsin digestive enzymes fish food intake glutamyltransferase growth hormone protein content trypsin 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Lemieux
    • 1
  • P. Blier
    • 1
  • J.-D. Dutil
    • 2
  1. 1.Département de BiologieUniversité du Québec à RimouskiRimouskiCanada (Phone
  2. 2.Institut Maurice LamontagneMinistère des P^eches et des OcéansMont-JoliCanada

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