Digestive coordination of the gastric function in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar juveniles
ABSTRACT: Artificial diets have been reported to produce suboptimal pH values in the stomach of salmonid species. Therefore, it is interesting to investigate the gastric function of different species fed commercial diets. In the present work, two groups of Atlantic salmon juveniles were either fasted or fed with a commercial diet. The gastric and duodenal pH values were measured over a 25 h post-prandial period and, dry matter, moisture and protease activity in the gastric chyme of the fed group were also determined. In the fed group, the gastric pH dropped to 3.5, and duodenal pH increased from 7.0 to 7.5 at the 4th h post-feeding, whereas fasted fish showed no significant changes in the gastric pH or duodenal pH. Fed animals showed: i) two discrete events of evacuation, before the 2nd hand after the 8th h of digestion, ii) a change in the moisture of the gastric chyme from less than 10% in the diet to 60% at the 2nd h post-feeding, and iii) a maximal gastric proteases activity of 600 U mL-1 at the 2nd h followed by a nearly constant of value of ~300 U mL-1. It can be concluded that the juveniles of the Atlantic salmon can suitably acidify a commercial diet to a value generally accepted as optimal for gastric proteases of fish, and to retain about 2/3 of the ingested diet under such conditions and at a nearly constant protease activity until the 8th h of digestion.