Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 335–345 | Cite as

Digestive protease activities and free amino acids in white muscle as indicators for feed conversion efficiency and growth rate in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.)

  • J. Sunde
  • G.L. Taranger
  • K. Rungruangsak-Torrissen


The aim of the present experiment was to screen several biochemical indices in fish and their interrelations in order to select variables for future studies of growth rate and feed conversion. Several parameters [trypsin activity, chymotrypsin activity, free amino acids (FAA) in plasma and white muscle, and RNA and RNA/protein ratio in the white muscle] were measured together with specific growth rate (SGR), feed intake and feed conversion efficiency (FCE) in four groups of diploid or triploid Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) reared under different light regimes. SGR was measured on individually tagged fish, whereas feed intake and feed conversion was estimated on tank basis. A principal component analysis (PCA) explained 80.6% of the variance in the data, using all measured parameters, regardless of ploidy and light regime. Muscle free hydroxyproline showed the highest correlation, alone explaining 55% of SGR variability. The SGR also significantly correlated with trypsin activity (r=0.34), the activity ratio of trypsin to chymotrypsin (T/C) (r=0.39), plasma essential FAA (EAA) (r=0.39), plasma total FAA (TFAA) (r=0.37), the ratio of essential to non-essential FAA (EAA/NEAA) in the white muscle (r=−0.45), muscle RNA (r=−0.45) and RNA/protein ratio (r=−0.41). Tank FCE correlated positively (r=0.97) with SGR, T/C ratio and muscle free hydroxyproline, and negatively (r=−0.90) with muscle EAA/NEAA. The groups reared under continuous light (LL) regime showed significantly higher SGR than simulated natural photoperiod (SNP) groups, and with an apparently higher FCE. A higher growth rate was associated with either a higher consumption rate and/or a higher feed utilization. A negative correlation between muscle RNA concentration and SGR may indicate that increased growth rate under LL regime was not caused by an increased protein deposition rate.

chymotrypsin feed utilization growth light plasma free amino acids RNA concentration RNA/protein ratio triploid trypsin white muscle free amino acids 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Sunde
    • 1
  • G.L. Taranger
    • 1
  • K. Rungruangsak-Torrissen
    • 1
  1. 1.Matre Aquaculture Research Station, Department of AquacultureInstitute of Marine ResearchMatredalNorway

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