The zootechnical performance of three different commercial feeds and their impact on liver and serum proteins of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata, L.) were assessed in a 12 week feeding trial. The three feeds, named A, B, and C, were subjected to lipid and protein characterization by gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), respectively.
Feed B was higher in fish-derived lipids and proteins, while feeds C and A were higher in vegetable components, although the largest proportion of feed C proteins was represented by pig hemoglobin. According to biometric measurements, the feeds had significantly different impacts on fish growth, producing a higher average weight gain and a lower liver somatic index in feed B over feeds A and C, respectively. 2D DIGE/MS analysis of liver tissue and Ingenuity pathways analysis (IPA) highlighted differential changes in proteins involved in key metabolic pathways of liver, spanning carbohydrate, lipid, protein, and oxidative metabolism. In addition, serum proteomics revealed interesting changes in apolipoproteins, transferrin, warm temperature acclimation-related 65 kDa protein (Wap65), fibrinogen, F-type lectin, and alpha-1-antitrypsin.
This study highlights the contribution of proteomics for understanding and improving the metabolic compatibility of feeds for marine aquaculture, and opens new perspectives for its monitoring with serological tests.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12953-014-0044-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.