The effect of algal turbidity on larval performance and the ontogeny of digestive enzymes in the grey mullet (Mugil cephalus)

William Koven, Enric Gisbert, Oriya Nixon, Mikhail M. Solovyev, Aviad Gaon, Guy Allon, Iris Meiri-Ashkenazi, Amos Tandler, Hanna Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A study comprised of two trials determined the effects of water turbidity produced by live microalgae and inert clay particles on the larval rearing of grey mullet (Mugil cephalus). Trial 1 evaluated the effect of microalgae produced water turbidity on grey mullet larval performance and digestive tract (DT) enzyme ontogeny. Two microalgae (Nannochloropsis oculata and Isochrysis galbana) water turbidity levels (0.76 and 1.20 NTU, respectively) and a non-microalgae control (0.26 NTU) were investigated on 2 to 23 dph grey mullet larvae. The higher turbidity (1.2 NTU) larvae (5 dph) consumed markedly (P <.05) more rotifers than other treatment fish, independently of the microalgae type. There was no clear effect of the turbidity treatments on DT enzyme ontogeny. However, in all treatments lipase and alkaline proteases appeared to be modulated by the diet. Alkaline phosphatase activity was ca. 8 times higher and α-amylase activity increased 5.3 times in 79 dph fish compared to 40 dph individuals. The ratio of alkaline phosphatase and leucine-alanine aminopeptidase indicated gut maturation occurred around 61 dph. Trial 2 compared the most effective N.occulata produced turbidity level (1.2 NTU) with the identical water turbidity produced by inert clay on larval performance. M. cephalus larvae exposed to high algal turbidity demonstrated superior performance (P <.05), in terms of rotifer ingestion, dry weight gain and survival, compared to cohorts reared under the clay treatment and the lower microalgae produced turbidity. These findings suggested that water algal turbidity is not the dominant factor determining improved grey mullet larval performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Algae
  • Digestive tract
  • Enzymes
  • Grey mullet
  • Gut maturation
  • Larvae
  • Turbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of algal turbidity on larval performance and the ontogeny of digestive enzymes in the grey mullet (Mugil cephalus)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this