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Metabolic recovery in Atlantic salmon fry and parr following forced activity

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Atlantic salmon Salmo salar fry and parr were subjected to 5 min of forced activity and the subsequent changes in oxygen consumption and ammonia excretion rates were evaluated over a 24 h period. In a second experiment, individual Atlantic salmon fry and parr were freeze‐clamped in liquid nitrogen, before, immediately following a 5 min activity period, or after periods of recovery up to 2 h. Samples were analysed for whole body phosphocreatine (PCr), ATP and lactate. Five minutes of forced activity resulted in significant increases in both oxygen consumption and ammonia excretion rates. Changes in the oxygen consumption rates were greater in the parr compared with the fry. In contrast, the post‐exercise ammonia excretion rates were nearly twice as high for the fry compared with the parr. Exercise also caused a marked decrease in PCr levels (c. 47 and 65% in fry and parr, respectively), no change in ATP levels and a significant increase in lactate levels in Atlantic salmon fry and parr. Recovery of PCr occurred quickly (between 15 and 30 min) in fry and parr. Although the post‐activity levels of lactate were lower in fry (c. 3 μmol g−1) compared with parr (c. 14 μmol g−1), lactate levels returned to control levels within 60 min in fry, but it took >2 h for this metabolite to recover in parr. Compared with parr, these findings show that Atlantic salmon fry possess a reduced anaerobic capacity, and these results are consistent with the theoretical and experimental evidence that smaller fish support burst swimming through aerobic processes.

Keywords: Atlantic salmon; ammonia excretion; forced activity; metabolites; oxygen consumption

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, P. O. Box 5050, Saint John, N.B. E2L 4L5, Canada and 2: The Canadian Rivers Institute and the Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, Bag Service 45111, Fredericton, N.B. E3B 6E1, Canada

Publication date: October 1, 2004


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