Muscle growth in juvenile Atlantic salmon as influenced by temperature in the egg and yolk sac stages and diet protein level
Atlantic salmon Salmo salar eggs derived from a single family were incubated at two different water temperature regimes, with a mean temperature between fertilization and first feeding differing between 6 and 10° C (HT) and 2–6° C (LT). From first feed the fry were kept under the same rearing conditions and fed either high (50%) or low (45%) protein diet level of equivalent energy content until smoltification. All treatments were carried out in duplicate tanks. At first feeding the groups were similar in mass, but thereafter the HT-fish were heavier and longer compared to the LT-fish throughout the experiment. The groups fed the high protein diet were significantly heavier and longer compared with the corresponding low protein diet. A strong positive relationship was observed between LF and total white muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), white muscle fibre diameter and fibre number. There were also equivalent relationships with body mass. There were no significant differences in CSA, the mean diameter or the number of white muscle fibres per CSA between groups at first feed. Muscle fibre number and CSA increased in all groups during the experiment, whereas fibre diameter reached a plateau when the fish reached > 9 cm LF. There were only minor effects of pre-hatch and yolk sac stage temperature on CSA and fibre number per CSA during the juvenile stage. In short periods the LT-group had larger CSA and higher fibre number than the HT-groups, but this differences had disappeared by the end of the juvenile stage. No differences in mean fibre diameter were found between groups, except at the time of smoltification. When the fish approached smoltification a decrease in mean fibre diameter and an increase in muscle fibres <25 µm was seen and taken as an indication of recruitment of new fibres (hyperplasia). Only minor differences in CSA, fibre number or fibre diameter was observed between high and low protein diet groups.
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