A novel approach to introduce nutrients into the fish egg; the effect of egg taurine on first feeding gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) performance

Guy Allon, Aviad Gaon, Oriya Nixon, Amir Bitan, Amos Tandler, William Koven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A potential key ingredient in broodstock and larval nutrition is the beta amino sulfonic acid; taurine. In the present study we investigated a novel application of electroporation-based methodology to introduce nutrients, such as taurine, into fertilized fish eggs with the aim of improving larval performance. In calibration trials, batches of 60 fertilized gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) eggs were electroporated in order to evaluate various combinations of voltage (V), time interval (ms) and pulse number. These resulted in egg hatchability and larval survival 24. h later that were not significantly (P. >. 0.05) different from the non-electroporated controls. The chosen electroporation protocol demonstrated a more permeable egg membrane by the significantly (P. <. 0.001) higher proportion of eggs incorporating a fluorescein marker in the yolk sac compared to the controls. The selected protocol was used to taurine enrich sea bream eggs in order to determine the effect of taurine level in pre- and exogenous feeding larvae. The taurine content of the taurine electroporated eggs was 6.2× higher (P<0.05) than the control eggs (4.36±2.24 and 0.7±0.02mgg-1 DW, respectively). On the other hand, the taurine level dropped considerably after hatching but was still significantly higher than the control pre-larvae (1.11±0.07 and 0.87±0.04mgg-1 DW, respectively) while the taurine levels in the control and treatment 10days post hatch (dph) larvae were not significantly (P>0.05) different. Taurine treated eggs exhibited a significantly (P<0.01) lower incidence of urinary calculi at 4, 6, 8 and 10dph and a lower frequency (P<0.01) of the larger (>50μm) calculi. Moreover, the control larvae ingested less rotifers, which was significant (P<0.05) at 4dph, than the taurine larvae. Interestingly, larvae from either the control or taurine treatment having large calculi ingested significantly (P<0.01) less rotifers. These results suggest a correlation between the presence of large calculi and reduced prey hunting success. However taurine enrichment of eggs did not promote growth by 10dph larvae suggesting that this technique should be modified to reduce taurine loss at hatching and/or that taurine live food enrichment is also necessary in order to maintain the level of this critical nutrient in early stage larvae. Nevertheless, the present study demonstrated the potential of electroporation as a novel high throughput approach to introduce taurine and/or other critical nutrients into the developing eggs and a potential alternative to costly broodstock dietary supplementation. Statement of relevance to the field of commercial aquaculture: Potential alternative to broodstock dietary supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-98
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2016


  • Aquaculture
  • Electroporation
  • Larval rearing
  • Urinary calculi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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