Journal : Aquaculture Nutrition , vol. 10 , p. 261–277 , 2004
Publisher : Blackwell Publishing
International Standard Numbers
Printed : 1353-5773
Electronic : 1365-2095
Publication type : Academic article
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The responses of the digestive proteases trypsin and chymotrypsin and protein metabolism to differences in feed protein quality were investigated in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). Two sets of experimental feeds were produced. Each set of high and low quality feeds was provided to either 150 g or 2 kg salmon. Protein in the high quality feeds had significantly higher percentages of free (reactive) sulphydryl (SH) groups than the corresponding feeds based on low quality meals. After 90 days feeding, groups given high and low quality feeds did not differ in their specific growth rates (SGR) in either experiment. However, feed conversion efficiency (FCE) was significantly different between the high and low quality feed groups in 2 kg salmon, where the difference between the high and low feed protein qualities was larger, 10% versus 4% SH/[SH + (S-S)] in 150 g salmon. Higher FCE was preceded by significantly higher trypsin and chymotrypsin specific activities on day 60. SGR, in general, changed after the first month and was stable during the last 2 months in both experiments. Concurrently, both trypsin (T) and chymotrypsin (C) decreased with an increased activity ratio of trypsin to chymotrypsin (T/C ratio), and resulting in significantly lower T/C ratio on day 90 in salmon feeding on high quality feeds in both sizes of fish. Differences in FCE were associated with significant differences in levels of total free amino acids (TFAA) in the plasma and the white muscle, as well as in the ratio of essential to non-essential free amino acids (EAA/NEAA ratio), free hydroxyproline, and RNA in the white muscle. Interestingly, after 3 days starvation (day 93), 5-7 h postprandial EAA/NEAA ratio in the plasma was significantly lower in the high quality diet groups in both experiments. Trypsin specific activity inversely correlated with muscle TFAA levels in 2 kg salmon, concurrent with higher muscle levels of RNA, lower free hydroxyproline and higher FCE in fish fed higher quality diets.