The content (% wet mass) in water, ash, lipid, crude protein, DNA and RNA of different tissues was determined during sexual maturation of bonitos Sarda sarda from the Aegean Sea. A total of 220 specimens were collected in the following stages of sexual maturity: immature, resting, developing, mature, spawning and spent. Highest lipid levels in the white muscle, red muscle and liver were measured in immature specimens, while lowest levels were found in spawning bonitos. The gradual percentage of lipid reduction from immature to spawning bonitos was relatively higher in the liver (females 71·2% and males 64·4%) than in the white (females 59·2% and males 53·5%) and red (females 62·1% and males 51·7%) muscle. Lipid levels in the gonads increased gradually from the immature to spawning stage. The decrease of lipid in the somatic tissues was more intense in females than in males, and gonadal lipid content was higher in females than in males. There was a strong reverse correlation between water and lipid percentage in all tissues. Protein content decreased significantly only in spawning bonitos. The percentage of protein reduction from immature to spawning stage was relatively higher in males than in females in both white (females 3·4% and males 4·6%) and red (females 4·6% and males 5·1%) muscles. Protein content in the liver was significantly lower than in the other tissues, being highest in mature females. Gonadal protein content in females increased with maturation and decreased after spawning. The content in ash exhibited considerable stability. The RNA:DNA ratio exhibited a similar pattern of variation in both muscles. The RNA:DNA ratio increased during gonadal development gradually from the developing to spent stage. It was concluded that in S. sarda during gonadal development, there was an increase in gonadal lipid accompanied by a decrease in somatic tissue lipid reserves. Thus, reproductive inactive bonitos have more lipid in their edible part and a higher nutritional value than active ones.
Laboratory of Applied Hydrobiology, Faculty of Animal Production, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, Athens 118 55, Greece 2:
Department of Zoology-Marine Biology, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, Athens 157 84, Greece