Edible-, slaughter- and health quality of exercised rainbow trout (38395)

Project Details


In Danish aquaculture the production of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in intensive, recirculating systems has increased over the years and this tendency is expected to proceed. Intensive systems are characterized by their potential to apply relatively high water velocities that can be of importance to fish farmers since water currents in earlier studies have been shown to stimulate fish growth. A large part of the growth potential of modern trout strains has however been exploited through breeding and this makes it uncertain to what extent and how modern trout strains respond to increased water velocities in terms of growth. Quality is also a significant parameter in that regard. Fast growth in intensive rearing systems may have implications on trout quality through increased propensities to stimulate lipid depositions in edible parts of the fish and in buccal cavities with concomitant effects on sensory parameters and slaughter yields.

The aim of the project is to study how exercise of rainbow trout may influence their growth and quality. Through collaboration with external partners and internal collaboration in DTU Aqua that has been stimulated through the research area “Individual Biology” numerous competences are involved. The project addresses important aspects of muscle physiology, hormonal control, enzymatic activities, fatty acid metabolism, overall fish growth and industrial fish quality. More specifically, by use of different exercise levels, fish growth and feed and protein utilization is monitored by changes in weights and lengths of the fish together with differences in feed intake. Growth rates are evaluated together with blood plasma content of IGF-1. Furthermore, measurements of plasma cortisol levels together with feed shares indicate the impact on fish welfare. Slaughter yields are determined under common production conditions in industry. Changes in chemical proximate composition of fillets are studied together with fatty acid profiles and the particular change in healthy n-3 fatty acids. Muscle fiber growth and other characteristics in the swimming musculature are studied by use of histological techniques involving light microscopy as well as electron microscopy. Changes in gene expression for mTOR (the mammalian target of rapamycin) are studied for their potential role in muscle fiber hypertrophic or hyperplastic growth and proteom analyses considering other key proteins of importance to both growth and quality are also undertaken. Changes in the calpastatin/calpain system measured as gene expression and/or electrophoretic are considered important for development of fillet texture that is measured instrumentally. Fillet texture is additionally considered by a trained sensory panel focusing on taste, odors, texture characteristics and appearance of the fish fillets.

The results obtained so far have proven positive with regards to applying exercise in rearing of modern rainbow trout strains. Negative aspects only seem to manifest when strenuous exercise levels are applied. Exercise has the potential to stimulate overall growth and reduce size differences within a stock supposedly owing to less aggression when feeding. Through several changes in muscle physiological components brought about by exercise the fillet texture may increase and there are furthermore indications that fish welfare may be improved.

The project is coordinated by DTU Aqua.
Research area: AquacultureResearch area: Fish Biology
Effective start/end date01/01/200831/12/2011

Collaborative partners


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