Larval programming of post-hatch muscle growth and activity in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Albokhadaim, I and Hammond, C L and Ashton, C and Simbi, B H and Bayol, S A M and Farrington, S J and Stickland, N (2007) Larval programming of post-hatch muscle growth and activity in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 210 (10). pp. 1735-1741.

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Larval muscle development in Atlantic salmon is known to be affected by temperature; however, the long term effects and possible mechanisms involved are less well understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of egg incubation temperature on post-hatch muscle growth and fish activity. Salmon eggs were incubated at either 10°C or 5°C from fertilization until hatching, then subsequently both groups were reared at 5°C. Fish from both groups were sampled at the eyed stage, 6 and 21 weeks after first feeding, for muscle cellularity analysis and immunocytochemistry. In addition, to try to establish a mechanism for altered growth, the activity of the fish was measured at 3, 6 and 21 weeks after first feeding. Our results demonstrate that whereas fish incubated at 10°C grow faster, the fish incubated at 5°C show a more sustained period of muscle growth and by 21 weeks are significantly longer, heavier and have more muscle fibres than those fish incubated at a higher temperature. We also demonstrate that fish raised at 5°C show increased food seeking activity throughout development and that this may explain their sustained growth and muscle development. These results taken together, demonstrate that egg incubation temperature up to hatching in salmon is critical for longer term muscle growth, twinned with increased activity. This is of interest to the aquaculture industry in term of the production of good quality fish protein.

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