Accelerated recovery of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from effects of crowding by swimming.Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol 2006; 144(3):351-8CB
The effects of post-crowding swimming velocity (0, 0.35, and 0.70 m/s) and recovery time (1.5, 6, and 12 h) on physiological recovery and processing quality parameters of adult Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) were determined. Atlantic salmon crowded to a density similar to that of a commercial slaughter process (>200 kg/m(3), 40 min) were transferred to a swimming chamber for recovery treatment. Osmolality and concentrations of cortisol, glucose and lactate in blood plasma were used as physiological stress indicators, whereas image analyses of extent and duration of rigor contraction, and fillet gaping were used as measures of processing quality. Crowded salmon had a 5.8-fold higher plasma cortisol concentration than control salmon (P<0.05). The elevated plasma cortisol concentration was reduced by increasing the swimming velocity, and had returned to control levels after 6 h recovery at high water velocity. Similar effects of swimming velocity were observed for plasma osmolality and lactate concentration. A lower plasma glucose concentration was present in crowded than in control fish (P<0.05), although a typical post-stress elevation in plasma glucose was observed after the recovery treatments. Lower muscle pH was found in crowded compared with control salmon (P<0.05), but muscle pH returned to control levels after 6 h recovery at intermediate and high swimming velocities and after 12 h in the low velocity group. Crowding caused an early onset of rigor mortis contraction. However, subjecting crowded salmon to active swimming for 6 h before slaughter delayed the onset of rigor mortis contraction from 2.5 to 7.5 h post mortem. The extent of rigor mortis contraction was also affected by crowding and post-stress swimming activity (P<0.05), and the largest degree of contraction was found in crowded salmon. In conclusion, active swimming accelerated the return of plasma cortisol, hydromineral balance, and the energy metabolism of adult Atlantic salmon to pre-stress levels. Moreover, an active swimming period delayed the onset of rigor mortis contraction, which has a positive technological implication for the salmon processing industry.