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Susceptibility of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) fed dietary sodium chloride to nitrite toxicity

Welker, Thomas L., Lim, Chhorn, Yildirim-Aksoy, Mediha, Klesius, Phillip H.
Aquaculture international 2012 v.20 no.1 pp. 159
Oreochromis niloticus, Streptococcus iniae, acute toxicity, disease resistance, electrolytes, feed intake, feed supplements, fish, hematocrit, hematology, hemoglobin, immunity, mortality, nitrites, potassium, sodium, sodium chloride, weight gain
Juvenile Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) were fed with diets supplemented with 0 or 6% NaCl for 10 weeks. Tilapia were exposed to approximately 21 mg/l nitrite-N after 5 and 10 weeks of feeding to determine the effect of dietary NaCl supplementation on resistance to nitrite toxicity. Fish were sampled before (baseline, pre-exposure) and after 24 h nitrite exposure to determine the effects of dietary NaCl on mortality, hematology (hematocrit, hemoglobin, and methemoglobin), and plasma electrolyte dynamics (nitrite, chloride, sodium, and potassium). After 10 weeks of feeding, tilapia were also challenged with Streptococcus iniae to determine the effect of sodium chloride on immunity. Tilapia fed with the NaCl-supplemented diet had significantly higher weight gain compared with the control group, which was associated with a significant increase in feed intake in the NaCl group. Mortality from nitrite exposure was lower in tilapia fed with the NaClsupplemented diet compared with the control group at 5 and 10 weeks, but the differences were not significant. However, dietary NaCl supplementation caused a significant decrease in plasma nitrite levels after nitrite exposure. The dietary reduction in nitrite may be related to the increase in plasma chloride in the 6% NaCl-supplemented fish. A direct link between the effects of dietary NaCl supplementation on methemoglobin (MetHb) could not be established. Tilapia in this study were subjected to acute nitrite toxicity. Dietary sodium chloride may be more effective in protecting against nitrite toxicity at lower levels of nitrite, but the conditions at which it proves to be effective may be limited and requires further investigation. Feeding NaCl to tilapia did not affect susceptibility to S. iniae or immune function, but nitrite exposure cause a stress-related reduction in non-specific immune function. This is the first study to examine the effects of dietary salt on nitrite toxicity in tilapia.