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Chrononutrition – ‘The Clock Makes Good Food’

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As all organisms on Earth, also fishes and aquatic invertebrates are subject to circadian rhythms triggered by external zeitgebers and controlled by gene transcription; all life history traits change in a circadian manner. This rhythmicity applies to digestive enzyme activity, regulated by endogenous systems, and which can be measured even under fasting conditions. Contrary to mammals, teleost fishes appear not to have a master clock. In aquatic invertebrates, the circadian control is less well understood than in fish. In both animal groups, transcription of metabolic and, particularly, also biotransformation genes show clear circadian rhythmicity. The latter determine the toxicity of natural and synthetic xenobiotic chemicals. Therefore, one can predict that several of the so-called antinutrional dietary compounds may lose their ‘anti’-character, if the farmed animals are fed during the acrophase of biotransformation genes transcription.


  • Biotransformation
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Clock genes
  • Metabolic processes
  • Zeitgeber

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-91767-2_5
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  1. 1.

    References taken from Rund et al. (2016)

  2. 2.

    Bass et al. (2007) reported an interesting inter-laboratory comparison of expected and actually occurring longevity effects of resveratrol in C. elegans: The results were variable, with resveratrol treatment, resulting in slight increases in life span in some trials but not in others. This statement agrees well with our own unpublished findings showing that resveratrol impacts could not be reproduced in various consecutive trials (Saul, Pietsch, Menzel, Steinberg, unpublished). To date, the most plausible explanation is that all trials disregarded internal diurnal rhythms mediated by the timing protein LIN-42 (Jeon et al. 1999). Very recently, Hendriks et al. (2014) showed that gene transcription may change by a factor > 10. In particular, nearly one fifth of detectably expressed transcripts oscillate with an 8 h period, and hundreds change that much. Consequently, it is not a surprise that life extension effects cannot be reproduced unless individuals of exactly the same period within the biological rhythm are exposed.

  3. 3.

    The hazard function is defined as the event rate at time t conditional on surviving up to or beyond time t.


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Steinberg, C.E.W. (2018). Chrononutrition – ‘The Clock Makes Good Food’ . In: Aquatic Animal Nutrition. Springer, Cham.

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