Nucleotide nutrition in fish: Current knowledge and future applications Academic Article uri icon


  • The roles of nucleotides and metabolites in fish diets have been sparingly studied for over 25 years. Beside possible involvement in diet palatability, fish feeding behavior and biosynthesis of non-essential amino acids, exogenous nucleotides have shown promise most recently as dietary supplements to enhance immunity and disease resistance of fish produced in aquaculture. Research on dietary nucleotides in fishes has shown they may improve growth in early stages of development, enhance larval quality via broodstock fortification, alter intestinal structure, increase stress tolerance as well as modulate innate and adaptive immune responses. Fishes fed nucleotide-supplemented diets generally have shown enhanced resistance to viral, bacterial and parasitic infection. Despite occasional inconsistency in physiological responses, dietary supplementation of nucleotides has shown rather consistent beneficial influences on various fish species. Although nucleotide nutrition research in fishes is in its infancy and many fundamental questions remain unanswered, observations thus far support the contention that nucleotides are conditionally or semi-essential nutrients for fishes, and further exploration of dietary supplementation of nucleotides for application in fish culture is warranted. Hypothesized reason(s) associated with these beneficial effects include dietary provision of physiologically required levels of nucleotides due to limited synthetic capacity of certain tissues (e.g. lymphoid), inadequate energetic expenditure for de novo synthesis, immunoendocrine interactions and modulation of gene expression patterns. However, currently there are numerous gaps in existing knowledge about exogenous nucleotide application to fish including various aspects of digestion, absorption, metabolism, and influences on various physiological responses especially expression of immunogenes and modulation of immunoglobulin production. Additional information is also needed in regard to age/size-related responses and appropriate doses and timing of administration. Thus further research in these areas should be pursued. 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, P., & Gatlin, D. M.

citation count

  • 187

complete list of authors

  • Li, P||Gatlin, DM

publication date

  • February 2006