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Keywords:

  • digestive enzymes;
  • fatty acids;
  • fish larvae;
  • larval performance;
  • phospholipids

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to determine the optimum dietary levels of soybean lecithin (SBL) for seabream (Sparus aurata) larvae, and its influence on production performance and digestive enzymes activity. Larvae were fed five formulated microdiets with five levels of SBL. Complete replacement of live preys with the experimental microdiets for seabream larvae at 16 dph produced over 55% survival rates, particularly in fish fed with the highest levels of SBL. Moreover, increase in dietary SBL up to 80 g kg−1 significantly improved larval growth, leading to high final total length and body weight. An increase in alkaline phosphatase activity with the elevation up to 80 g kg−1 SBL was also found denoting a better maturation of the digestive system. Besides, there was a stimulatory effect of dietary SBL on PLA2 activity. Finally, increasing dietary SBL lead to better utilization of dietary highly unsaturated fatty acid, as it was reflected in their higher content in both neutral and polar lipid of the larvae. In summary, elevation of dietary SBL up to 80 g kg−1 in microdiets for seabream significantly improved digestive enzymes activities, enterocyte maturation, utilization and deposition of dietary essential fatty acids and larval growth, as a consequence of a better digestion, absorption, transport and deposition of dietary nutrients.