Nutrition and metabolism of glutamate and glutamine in fish. Academic Article uri icon


  • Glutamate (Glu) and glutamine (Gln) comprise a large proportion of total amino acids (AAs) in fish in the free and protein-bound forms. Both Glu and Gln are synthesized de novo from other α-amino acids and ammonia. Although these two AAs had long been considered as nutritionally non-essential AAs for an aquatic animal, they must be included adequately in its diet to support optimal health (particularly intestinal health) and maximal growth. In research on fish nutrition, Glu has been used frequently as an isonitrogenous control on the basis of the assumption that this AA has no nutritional or physiological function. In addition, purified diets used for feeding fish generally lack glutamine. As functional AAs, Glu and Gln are major metabolic fuels for tissues of fish (including the intestine, liver, kidneys, and skeletal muscle), and play important roles not only in protein synthesis but also in glutathione synthesis and anti-oxidative reactions. The universality of Glu and Gln as abundant intracellular AAs depends on their enormous versatility in metabolism. Dietary supplementation with Glu and Gln to farmed fish can improve their growth performance, intestinal development, innate and adaptive immune responses, skeletal muscle development and fillet quality, ammonia removal, and the endocrine status. Glu (mainly as monosodium glutamate), glutamine, or AminoGut (a mixture of Glu and Gln) is a promising feed additive to reduce the use of fishmeal, while gaining the profitability of global aquaculture production. Thus, the concept of dietary requirements of fish for Glu and Gln is a paradigm shift in the nutrition of aquatic animals (including fish).

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, X., Zheng, S., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Li, Xinyu||Zheng, Shixuan||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • May 2020