Dietary nitrogen and fish welfare

Luis E.C. Conceição, Cláudia Aragão, Jorge Dias, Benjamín Costas, Genciana Terova, Catarina Martins, Lluis Tort

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little research has been done in optimizing the nitrogenous fraction of the fish diets in order to minimize welfare problems. The purpose of this review is to give an overview on how amino acid (AA) metabolism may be affected when fish are under stress and the possible effects on fish welfare when sub-optimal dietary nitrogen formulations are used to feed fish. In addition, it intends to evaluate the current possibilities, and future prospects, of using improved dietary nitrogen formulations to help fish coping with predictable stressful periods. Both metabolomic and genomic evidence show that stressful husbandry conditions affect AA metabolism in fish and may bring an increase in the requirement of indispensable AA. Supplementation in arginine and leucine, but also eventually in lysine, methionine, threonine and glutamine, may have an important role in enhancing the innate immune system. Tryptophan, as precursor for serotonin, modulates aggressive behaviour and feed intake in fish. Bioactive peptides may bring important advances in immunocompetence, disease control and other aspects of welfare of cultured fish. Fishmeal replacement may reduce immune competence, and the full nutritional potential of plant-protein ingredients is attained only after the removal or inactivation of some antinutritional factors. This review shows that AA metabolism is affected when fish are under stress, and this together with sub-optimal dietary nitrogen formulations may affect fish welfare. Furthermore, improved dietary nitrogen formulations may help fish coping with predictable stressful events. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-141
JournalFish Physiology and Biochemistry
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012

Keywords

  • Amino acid requirements
  • Antinutritional factors
  • Bioactive peptides
  • Fish welfare
  • Protein nutrition
  • Tryptophan

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