Development of an in vitro model to assess protein bioavailability in diets for common octopus (Octopus vulgaris)

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Abstract

An in vitro model designed to assess protein bioavailability in diets for growing Octopus was developed. The model required a previous assessment of some functional features of protein digestion in this species like the main producing organs, optimum pH for activity and total production per g tissue. The main producing organs identified were the salivary glands and the hepatopancreas (HP), being optimum pH for protease activity quite different in both organs (mostly alkaline in the posterior salivary glands and acid in the HP). In spite of the high-specific protease activity measured in the salivary glands, a major role of the HP in protein hydrolysis is suggested due to the much bigger size of this viscera. All this information was used as a basis to develop an in vitro two-step hydrolysis process, which simulated protein hydrolysis performed by these two organs using the Octopus enzymes. The assay was used to evaluate differences in amino acid bioavailability from several protein sources (casein, gelatin, fish meal, squid meal and krill meal) that could be used as feed ingredients for this species. As significant differences were detected both in total amount and in rate of release of the amino acids from such proteins, the model is proposed as a complementary tool in the selection and nutritional evaluation of protein ingredients to be used in diets for Octopus.

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