Essential fatty acid requirement of juvenile red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus). Academic Article uri icon


  • Feeding experiments and laboratory analyses were conducted to establish the essential fatty acid (EFA) requirement of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus). Juvenile red drum were maintained in aquaria containing brackish water (5 2 total dissolved solids) for two 6-week experiments. Semipurified diets contained a total of 70% lipid consisting of different combinations of tristearin [predominantly 18:0] and the following fatty acid ethyl esters: oleate, linoleate, linolenate, and a mixture of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) containing approximately 60% eicosapentaenoate plus docosahexaenoate. EFA-deficient diets (containing only tristearin or oleate) rapidly reduced fish growth and feed efficiency, and increased mortality. Fin erosion and a "shock syndrome" also occurred in association with EFA deficiency. Of the diets containing fatty acid ethyl esters, those with 0.5-1% (n-3) HUFA (0.3-0.6% eicosapentaenoate plus docosahexaenoate) promoted the best growth, survival, and feed efficiency; however, the control diet containing 7% menhaden fish oil provided the best performance. Excess (n-3) HUFA suppressed fish weight gain; suppression became evident at 1.5% (n-3) HUFA, and was pronounced at 2.5%. Fatty acid compositions of whole-body, muscle and liver tissues from red drum fed the various diets generally reflected dietary fatty acids, but modifications of these patterns also were evident. Levels of saturated fatty acids appeared to be regulated independent of diet. In fish fed EFA-deficient diets (containing only tristearin or oleate), monoenes increased and (n-3) HUFA were preferentially conserved in polar lipid fractions. Eicosatrienoic acid [20:3(n-9)] was not elevated in EFA-deficient red drum, apparently due to their limited ability to transform fatty acids. Red drum exhibited some limited ability to elongate and desaturate linoleic acid [18:2(n-6)] and linolenic acid [18:3(n-3)]; however, metabolism of 18:3(n-3) did not generally result in increased tissue levels of (n-3) HUFA. Based on these responses, the red drum required approximately 0.5% (n-3) HUFA in the diet (approximately 7% of dietary lipid) for proper growth and health.

published proceedings

  • Fish Physiol Biochem

author list (cited authors)

  • Lochmann, R. T., & Gatlin, D. M.

citation count

  • 79

complete list of authors

  • Lochmann, RT||Gatlin, DM

publication date

  • October 1993