Title page for ETD etd-11182008-193547

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Salze, Guillaume Pierre
Author's Email Address gsalze@vt.edu
URN etd-11182008-193547
Title Nutritional control of gene expression, larval development and physiology in fish
Degree PhD
Department Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Craig, Steven R. Committee Co-Chair
McLean, Ewen W. Committee Co-Chair
Craig, Johanna Committee Member
Hallerman, Eric M. Committee Member
Schwarz, Michael Committee Member
  • Aquaculture
  • Cobia
  • Rachycentron canadum
  • Sustainability
  • Fish meal and fish oil replacement
  • Microarray
  • Ontogeny
  • Larvae
  • Enzyme
Date of Defense 2008-09-12
Availability unrestricted
During preliminary research on cobia (Rachycentron canadum, L.) it became increasingly clear that more in-depth information was required to provide enabling techniques for the cobia aquaculture industry to develop more rapidly. A unifying theme in many of the more important issues facing cobia aquaculture is nutrition. This led to nutritional investigations with larval and juvenile fish highlighting the impacts of dietary ingredients on animal performance. Indeed, nutrition can be viewed as a central lever of action through which many aspects of the physiology and the environmental (water) quality of the animal can be controlled.

The first project focused on studying the larval development of cobia, a fish species highly suitable for aquaculture for which the industry is nascent. I described the time-course of development of external sensory organs, gut morphology and relevant digestive enzymes under controlled conditions using electron microscopy, histology and spectrophotometric assays. The developmental sequence of larval cobia could be separated in two phases, with a transition period between 12 and 14 days post hatch (dph). This transition is characterized by the formation of the intestinal loop, the establishment of basic cranial neuromast configuration, leading to the initiation of the onset of pancreatic enzymes and the increase of growth rate. In addition, the effects of dietary taurine supplementation and incorporation of mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) into live feeds on cobia larvae development was examined. Fish fed supplementary MOS did not grow faster but displayed higher microvilli length and density. In addition, MOS-fed fish were more resistant to salinity stress. The dietary supplementation of taurine resulted in a dramatic increase in survival, growth and development rates, and enzymatic activities.

The second project aimed at refining cobia juvenile nutrition, assessing fish meal and fish oil replacements. Novel sources, including soy protein and oil, were investigated with and without amino acid and MOS supplementations, yielding promising results. Indeed, both fish meal and fish oil were replaced completely and successfully in feeds for juvenile cobia. In addition, novel ingredients (e.g. marine algae meals and soy protein concentrate) were identified to effectively achieve such replacement.

The third and last project dealt with nutrient-gene interactions, specifically centering attention on immunostimulants for which the underlying mechanisms of action remain poorly characterized. Here, dietary MOS, nucleotides and selenomethionine (Se-met) were offered to zebrafish whose transcriptome was analyzed by microarray. The immune system, humoral or cellular, innate or adaptive, exhibited different patterns of response according to the immunostimulating nutrient used. In addition, various genes involved in cell cycle and cytokinesis were concomitantly expressed. An intriguing observation related to the insulinomimetic effect of Se-met. In other words, Se-met impacted pathways normally regulated by insulin, such as the MAPK and PI3K pathways. Some Insulin-like Growth Factors (IGF) and IGF bindgin proteins were up-regulated. Additional research is however necessary prior to advocating for the use of these additives, in order to further investigate their respective pros and cons.

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