Dietary neutral lipid level and source in marine fish larvae: Effects on digestive physiology and food intake

A growth depressing effect of high dietary neutral lipid levels in marine fish larvae has been reported. This may be a result of a decrease in the efficiency or activity of digestive enzymes, a reduction in absorption efficiency and/or a decrease in food intake. The present work reviews recent studies carried out on commercially valuable species (Atlantic herring, Senegalese sole, European seabass and gilthead seabream) that investigated the effects of neutral lipid level and lipid source (fatty acid composition) on some of these key factors influencing larval growth. The results seem to collectively indicate that lipid transport from the enterocytes into the body may be more problematic in larval stages dealing with high neutral lipid diets than lipolytic enzymatic capacity, although both factors are likely to intervene. In seabass, lipase activity was significantly affected by the source of dietary lipid but not by its dietary level. Lipid sources differing in chain length and degree of saturation of their fatty acids may thus affect the efficiency or synthesis of neutral lipase through effects on substrate specificity. Phospholipid digestion appears to be more efficient than that of neutral lipids, although neutral lipase synthesis might not be a limiting factor for larval growth. High neutral lipid larval diets result in the accumulation of large lipid droplets in the enterocytes, which may in turn reduce fatty acid absorption efficiency and ultimately larval growth. Nonetheless, not all fatty acids are equally affected and mechanisms of specific essential fatty acid absorption probably exist. Food intake in seabream larvae is not strictly regulated by total lipid content of the diet and lipid source may have an important role in controlling ingestion. Therefore, the neutral lipid level in diets for marine fish larvae has a significant impact in several factors influencing growth but clearly it cannot be dissociated of its fatty acid composition, which appears to play a central role on the nutritional and physiological effects of dietary lipid, at the ingestion, digestion and absorption levels. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Ingestion, Lipid droplets, Digestion, Absorption, Fatty acid composition, Lipid quantity

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Morais Sofia, Conceicao L, Ronnestad I, Koven W, Cahu Chantal, Zambonino-Infante Jose-Luis, Dinis M (2007). Dietary neutral lipid level and source in marine fish larvae: Effects on digestive physiology and food intake. Aquaculture. 268 (1-4). 106-122.,

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