Expansion of the aquaculture industry is limited by incomplete knowledge on fish larval nutritional requirements. Nevertheless, it is believed that dietary taurine deficiencies may be particularly critical for fish larvae. The reasons include the high taurine levels found during egg and yolk-sac stages of fish, suggesting that taurine may be of pivotal importance for larval development. Moreover, unlike aquaculture feeds, natural preys of fish larvae contain high taurine levels, and dietary taurine supplementation has been shown to increase larval growth in several fish species. This study aimed to further explore the physiological role of taurine during fish development. Firstly, the effect of dietary taurine supplementation was assessed on growth of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) larvae and growth, metamorphosis success and amino acid metabolism of Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis) larvae. Secondly, the expression of taurine transporter (TauT) was characterised by qPCR in sole larvae and juveniles. Results showed that dietary taurine supplementation did not increase sea bream growth. However, dietary taurine supplementation significantly increased sole larval growth, metamorphosis success and amino acid retention. Metamorphosis was also shown to be an important developmental trigger to promote taurine transport in sole tissues, while evidence for an enterohepatic recycling pathway for taurine was found in sole at least from juvenile stage. Taken together, our studies showed that the dependence of dietary taurine supplementation differs among fish species and that taurine has a vital role during the ontogenetic development of flatfish, an extremely valuable group targeted for aquaculture production.
Fish Larva Live Prey Senegalese Sole Dietary Taurine Taurine Treatment
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W. Pinto and C. Aragão benefited from grants SFRH/BPD/80121/2011 and SFRH/BPD/37197/2007 (FCT, Portugal), respectively. I. Rønnestad acknowledges grants from European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n 222719—LIFECYCLE and Research Council of Norway (802948; GutFeeling).
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