Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 253–265 | Cite as

Physio-metabolic response of rainbow trout during prolonged food deprivation before slaughter

  • Rubén Bermejo-PozaEmail author
  • Montserrat Fernández-Muela
  • Jesús De la Fuente
  • Concepción Pérez
  • Elisabet González de Chavarri
  • María Teresa Díaz
  • Fernando Torrent
  • Morris Villarroel


Fish normally undergo periods of food deprivation that are longer than non-hibernating mammals. In aquacultured rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), it is unclear how fasting may affect their physiological adaptative response, especially when they are normally fed daily. In addition, that response may vary with temperature, making it necessary to express fasting duration in terms of degree days. In the current study, trout were fasted for 5, 10, and 20 days (55, 107, and 200 degree days (°C d), respectively). To assess the physiological response of fish to fasting, different biometric, blood, plasma, and metabolic parameters were measured, as well as liver fatty acid composition. The fish weight, condition factor, and the hepato-somatic index of 5-day fasted trout were not significantly different from those of control fish. Gastric pH increased as fasting progressed while plasma concentrations of glucose, triglycerides, and total proteins decreased significantly after 10 days of fasting, while the percentage of non-esterified fatty acids increased. There were no significant differences in plasma ions (sodium, potassium, and calcium), except for chloride ion which decreased after 5 days of fasting. Liver glycogen decreased after 5 days of fasting while glycogen concentration in muscle did not decrease until 20 days of fasting. Liver color presented a higher chroma after 5 days of fasting, suggesting a mobilization of reserves. Finally, acetylcholinesterase activity in the brain was not affected by food deprivation but increased after 10 days of fasting in liver and muscle, suggesting the mobilization of body reserves, but without severely affecting basal metabolism.


Food deprivation Water temperature Rainbow trout Stress response 


Funding information

This project was financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), project AGL2013-45557-P.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rubén Bermejo-Poza
    • 1
    Email author
  • Montserrat Fernández-Muela
    • 1
  • Jesús De la Fuente
    • 1
  • Concepción Pérez
    • 2
  • Elisabet González de Chavarri
    • 1
  • María Teresa Díaz
    • 3
  • Fernando Torrent
    • 4
  • Morris Villarroel
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Animal Production, Veterinary SchoolComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Physiology, Veterinary SchoolComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Food TechnologyINIAMadridSpain
  4. 4.Department of Forestry and Fisheries, College of Forestry EngineeringTechnical University of Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/nMadridSpain
  5. 5.Department of Animal Science, College of Agricultural EngineeringTechnical University of MadridMadridSpain

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