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Trypsin and chymotrypsin as indicators of nutritional status of post-weaned sea bass larvae

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The aim of the present work was to evaluate to what extent variation in the activity of either trypsin or chymotrypsin could be a sensitive and reliable indicator of nutritional deficiencies during post-weaning stages in a marine fish. Sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax larvae obtained from two different spawns classified as high quality (HQ) or low quality (LQ) on the basis of their hatching variables, were used to evaluate if enzyme production could be conditioned by factors other than those related to the feeding regime. In addition, larvae in each group were either fed normally or received a ration reduced by 60%. Trypsin and chymotrypsin activities were separately measured in larvae at days 3 and 15 after weaning. Changes in mass and final survival were also recorded. Food limitation resulted in a lower final mass only in the HQ larvae. Survival was significantly higher in HQ larvae, but also in larvae suffering food restriction, irrespective of the quality of the spawn. In both groups of larvae, lower food availability was correlated to increased values of trypsin, and particularly, of chymotrypsin. Variations were high enough to support the usefulness of such enzymes as indicators of a modified nutritional status. It is suggested that the noticeable increase in the activity of both enzymes observed in the restrictedly fed larvae could compensate initial deficiencies and explain the good results in growth and survival obtained in LQ larvae.

Keywords: chymotrypsin; compensatory growth; food restriction; sea bass larvae; trypsin

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Dpto. Biología Aplicada. E.P. Superior. Univ. Almería. 04120. Almería. Spain 2: Unité Mixte de Nutrition des Poissons IFREMER-INRA, IFREMER Centre de Brest, BP 70, 29280 Plouzané, France 3: IFREMER, LRPM, Chemin de Maguelone, F-34250 Palavás. France

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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