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Summary

This study investigated the effect of high-dose vitamin C supplementation on growth, tissue ascorbic acid concentrations and physiological response to transportation stress in juvenile silver pomfret, Pampus argenteus (initial average weight 6.2 ± 0.2 g). Three practical diets were formulated to contain 100 (control), 450 and 800 mg ascorbic acid/kg diet, respectively, supplied as l-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate. Each diet was fed to triplicate groups of fish in circular tanks (3 m ø, 1.5 m depth) (60 fish/tank) for 9 weeks. Growth did not change significantly with dietary vitamin C levels, although an improvement tendency with an increase in vitamin C supplementation was observed. Ascorbic acid concentrations in the liver and muscle of fish fed diets containing graded levels of vitamin C were positively correlated with dietary levels of this vitamin. Tissue ascorbic acid concentrations significantly increased with increasing vitamin C supplementation. After 9 weeks, the fish were subjected to transportation stress for 4 h to determine the influence of high vitamin C supplementation on the physiological response to this stressor. Serum cortisol, glucose and lactate levels significantly increased in stressed fish. Serum cortisol and glucose concentrations after stress were significantly higher in fish fed the control diet (7.91 μg L−1 and 0.80 mm, respectively) than in the other groups. However, there were no significant differences in serum cortisol and glucose levels after stress between the 450 and 800 mg kg−1 diets. No significant change could be found in serum lactate levels after stress among the different treatments. In conclusion, the dietary administration of high doses of vitamin C could reduce stress in silver pomfret and increase the survival of fish under stress conditions.