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The effect of dietary fatty acids on body composition, growth, mortality and saltwater tolerance in juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) Bernatsky, Ivor Paul


An experiment was designed to determine whether the response of fish to graded dietary levels of essential fatty acids (n3) was affected by the total dietary lipid concentration. Juvenile coho salmon were fed practical diets varying in lipid source and total lipid content. The diets were fed in duplicate during a 27-week and a 12-week period ran in succession. The effects of the different dietary fatty acid concentrations on body fatty acids composition were determined after each period. The dietary fatty acid classes were expressed either as percent of the dry diet or percent of the dietary lipid. Analysis of the body lipid fatty acid composition was performed for neutral and polar lipid fractions. The effect of dietary fatty acid concentration on growth and mortality was determined over a 12-week growth study (period 2). A 24-hour saltwater challenge was performed at the end of period 2. It was used to examine the effect of dietary fatty acid concentration on saltwater tolerance. Dietary n6 and n3 fatty acids appeared to be selectively incorporated into the body polar lipid pool. Linoleate and linolenate underwent elongation and desaturation which resulted in the inhibition of the elongation and desaturation of 18:ln9. The neutral lipid pool served as a source of n3 fatty acids for the polar lipid when dietary intake was limited by low temperatures during period 1. The body neutral monounsaturated and 18:1 monounsaturated fatty acids consistently reflected the composition of the diet. The n3 fatty acid concentration in the neutral lipid was also directly related to the dietary fatty acid composition during period 2. The effect of dietary fatty acids on the body neutral or polar fatty acid composition did not depend on the manner in which the dietary fatty acids were expressed. There was also no significant effect of dietary total lipid concentration on the relationship between dietary fatty acids and their incorporation into the body lipids. The growth response was difficult to interpret because of the high mortality. There was a significant difference in mortality among treatments. A positive relationship between dietary concentrations of total n3 fatty acids or n3 highly unsaturated fatty acids and mortality became evident following analysis of the regression of mortality as a function of dietary fatty acid composition. The dietary fatty acid composition did not appear to alter the saltwater tolerance of the 1+ coho salmon.

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