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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATION OF NUTRITIONAL, GENETIC AND PHYSIOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO IMPROVE PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY OF RAINBOW TROUT

Location: Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research

Title: Mucus: a new tissue fraction for rapid determination of fish diet switching using stable isotope analysis.

Authors
item Church, M. -
item Ebersole, Joseph -
item Rensmeyer, Kirk -
item Couture, Ryan -
item Barrows, Frederic
item Noakes, David -

Submitted to: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 2, 2008
Publication Date: January 21, 2009
Repository URL: http://riley.nal.usda.gov/nal_web/digi/submission.html
Citation: Church, M.R., Ebersole, J.L., Rensmeyer, K.M., Couture, R.B., Barrows, F., Noakes, D.L. 2009. Mucus: a new tissue fraction for rapid determination of fish diet switching using stable isotope analysis. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 66:1-5. 2009.

Interpretive Summary: The ability to determine when fish change food sources in either wild or hatchery pond conditions can be important in understanding production efficiency. A method using stable isotopes was developed using fish mucus so that the sampling of fish was non-lethal. This procedure appears to be much more effective, and time sensitive, than using different tissue.

Technical Abstract: Stable isotope analysis of diet switching by fishes is often hampered by slow turnover rates of the tissues analyzed (usually muscle or fins). We examined epidermal mucus as a potentially faster turnover “tissue” that might provide a more rapid assessment of diet switching. In a controlled hatchery experiment, we switched the diet of juvenile steelhead (sea-run rainbow trout) from a plant-based feed with a low 13C and 15N to a fish-meal based diet with higher delta values. We found mucus to provide a significantly more rapid response to diet switching than muscle tissue, even for growing juvenile fish. Mucus may provide a rapid turnover tissue for analysis of diet (or habitat) switching by fish. It has the additional advantage that it may be sampled non-lethally in some fishes, thereby avoiding problems in studying threatened and endangered species. This is the first report of the use of mucus in stable isotope analyses of fish tissues.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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