Main content area

Investigation of graded levels of soybean meal diets for red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, using quantitative PCR derived biomarkers

Watson, Aaron M., Casu, Fabio, Bearden, Daniel W., Yost, Justin, Denson, Michael R., Gaylord, T. Gibson, Anderson, Paul, Sandifer, Paul A., Leffler, John W., Barrows, Frederic T.
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2019 v.29 pp. 274-285
Sciaenops ocellatus, aquaculture, biochemical pathways, biomarkers, condition factor, crude protein, diet, feed conversion, feed intake, feeds, fish, fish health, gene expression, genes, juveniles, lipids, liver, messenger RNA, metabolites, metabolomics, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, physiological response, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, regression analysis, soybean meal, weight gain
A twelve-week feeding trial was conducted to examine potential metabolic and gene expression changes that occur in juvenile red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, fed diets with increasing soybean meal inclusion. Significant reduction in fish performance characteristics (feed consumption, weight gain, final weight) was observed within the soybean meal based diets as soybean meal level increased (R, linear regression); however, all soybean meal based diets performed statistically equivalent in regards to performance characteristics (weight gain, feed conversion ratio, condition factor, etc.) to a commercial (45% crude protein and 16% crude lipid) reference diet (R, ANOVA). To better understand the underlying physiological responses and metabolic changes driving performance differences, traditional aquaculture metrics were paired with high throughput –omics techniques. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-based metabolomics data and RNA transcript abundance differences observed in liver tissue were utilized to select multiple sets of genes to target with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), both for pathway activity validation and as rapid and accessible biomarkers of performance as a result of soybean meal. Genes selected based on the metabolic pathways most affected by soybean meal level corroborate the metabolite profile and performance data indicating an increase in gluconeogenic precursor production as soybean meal increased. The metabolomic and gene expression tools utilized in our study present a novel framework for diet and fish health evaluation that may provide more rapid and improved techniques for evaluating dietary manipulations and improving production of juvenile fish on alternative feeds.