Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 281–287 | Cite as

β-Alanine does not act through branched-chain amino acid catabolism in carp, a species with low muscular carnosine storage

  • F. Geda
  • A. Declercq
  • A. Decostere
  • A. Lauwaerts
  • B. Wuyts
  • W. Derave
  • G. P. J. Janssens


This study was executed to investigate the effect of dietary β-alanine (BA) on amino acid (AA) metabolism and voluntary feed intake in carp (Cyprinus carpio) at mildly elevated temperature to exert AA catabolism. Twenty-four fish in 12 aquaria were randomly assigned to either a control diet or the same diet with 500 mg BA/kg. A 14-day period at an ideal temperature (23 °C) was followed by 15 days at chronic mildly elevated temperature (27 °C). After the 15 days, all fish were euthanised for muscle analysis on histidine-containing dipeptides (HCD), whole blood on free AA and carnitine esters. The carnosine and anserine analysis indicated that all analyses were below the detection limit of 5 µmol/L, confirming that carp belongs to a species that does not store HCD. The increases in free AA concentrations due to BA supplementation failed to reach the level of significance. The effects of dietary BA on selected whole blood carnitine esters and their ratios were also not significant. The supplementation of BA tended to increase body weight gain (P = 0.081) and feed intake (P = 0.092). The lack of differences in the selected nutrient metabolites in combination with tendencies of improved growth performance warrants further investigation to unravel the mechanism of BA affecting feed intake. This first trial on the effect of BA supplementation on AA catabolism showed that its metabolic effect in carp at chronic mildly elevated temperature was very limited. Further studies need to evaluate which conditions are able to exert an effect of BA on AA metabolism.


Carp Elevated temperature β-Alanine Amino acids Acylcarnitine 



Amino acids




Branched-chain amino acids




Feed conversion ratio


γ-Aminobutyric acid


Histidine-containing dipeptides


High-performance liquid chromatography


Standard error of mean


Total acylcarnitine


Sum of 3-hydroxybutyryl fatty acids


Sum of 3-hydroxybutyryl respective fatty acids



The authors acknowledge Herman De Rycke for proximate analysis of the control diet.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Geda
    • 1
    • 6
  • A. Declercq
    • 2
  • A. Decostere
    • 2
  • A. Lauwaerts
    • 3
  • B. Wuyts
    • 4
  • W. Derave
    • 5
  • G. P. J. Janssens
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineGhent UniversityMerelbekeBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Morphology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineGhent UniversityMerelbekeBelgium
  3. 3.Taminco BVBAGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Clinical ChemistryUniversity Hospital GhentGhentBelgium
  5. 5.Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineJimma UniversityJimmaEthiopia

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