An investigation of links between metabolic rate and feed efficiency in European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax

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Rodde, Charles
de Verdal, Hugues
Vandeputte, Marc
Allal, François
Nati, Julie
Besson, Mathieu
Blasco, Felipe R.
Benzie, John A. H.
McKenzie, David J.
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Oxford University Press
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Feed efficiency (FE) is the amount of body weight gain for a given feed intake. Improving FE through selective breeding is key for sustainable finfish aquaculture but its evaluation at individual level is technically challenging. We therefore investigated whether individual routine metabolic rate (RMR) was a predictor of individual FE in the European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax, a major species in European mariculture. The European sea bass has three genetically distinct populations across its geographical range, namely Atlantic Ocean (AT), West Mediterranean (WM) and East Mediterranean (EM). We compared FE and RMR of fish from these three populations at 18°C or 24°C. We held 200 fish (62 AT, 66 WM and 72 EM) in individual aquaria and fed them from ad libitum down to fasting. Feed efficiency was assessed for an ad libitum feeding rate and for a fixed restricted ration (1% of metabolic body -1, with metabolic body weight = body weight 0.8). After being refed 12 weeks in a common tank, individual RMR was measured over 36h by intermittent flow respirometry. There was a significant effect of temperature whereby fish at 18°C had greater mean FE (P < 0.05) and lower RMR (P < 0.001). There was also a significant effect of population, where AT fish had lower FE (P < 0.05) and greater RMR (P < 0.001) than WM and EM, at both temperatures. Despite these differences in temperature and population means, individual FE and RMR were not significantly correlated (P > 0.05). Therefore, although the results provide evidence of an association between metabolic rate and FE, RMR was not a predictor of individual FE, for reasons that require further investigation.
Aquaculture , Genetic populations , Individual rearing , Oxygen consumption , Respirometry
Rodde, C., de Verdal, H., Vandeputte, M., Allal, F., Nati, J., Besson, M., Blasco, F. R., Benzie, J. A. H. and McKenzie, D. J. (2021) 'An investigation of links between metabolic rate and feed efficiency in European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax', Journal of Animal Science. doi: 10.1093/jas/skab152
© 2021, the Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.