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Exposure to low concentrations of dissolved ammonia promotes growth rate in walleye Sander vitreus

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The objective of the current study was to examine whether sublethal (moderate) levels of dissolved ammonia may be beneficial to growth in juvenile walleye Sander vitreus (recent evidence in juvenile rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss has shown significant increases in protein synthesis in the presence of moderately elevated concentrations of dissolved ammonia). Moderately elevated dissolved ammonia concentrations between 100 and 300 mol l−1 suppressed routine aerobic metabolic activity by 20% during acute trials (2 h), while promoting specific growth rate (>50%) and elevating whole body soluble protein content by 20% in the early stages (14–42 days) in chronic ammonia exposure experiments. Juvenile S. vitreus held at ammonia concentrations between 107·6 ± 5·5 and 225·5 ± 4·7 mol l−1 (mean ±s.e.) grew significantly faster than control fish and significantly reduced plasma cortisol levels (<3 g dl−1). Results from this study suggest that chronic exposure to moderate amounts of dissolved ammonia significantly increase growth rates in juvenile S. vitreus by increasing nitrogen accessible for supplementary protein deposition leading to somatic development.

Keywords: juvenile walleye; protein deposition; routine metabolic rate; specific growth rate

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Department of Biology, BioSciences Complex, Queen’s University, 116 Barrie Street, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6 Canada

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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