University Of Tasmania

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Is dietary phosphatidylcholine essential for juvenile slipper lobster (Thenus australiensis)?

Phospholipids, especially phosphatidylcholine (PC), are considered essential nutrients for larval and juvenile stages of many decapod crustacean species due to low rates of endogenous biosynthesis and potential nutritional benefits in assisting lipid digestion and transport. This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that dietary PC is essential and would subsequently have beneficial effects on lipid utilisation and digestibility of fish oil triacylglycerol (TAG) in the slipper lobster, Thenus australiensis. Juvenile slipper lobsters were supplied six formulated experimental feeds with actual PC contents of 0.05, 0.48, 0.65, 0.98, 1.15 and 1.43% (dry matter) for 12 weeks. Manipulating dietary PC content had no effects on survival, growth, chemical composition, whole body or tissue lipid distribution, or apparent digestibility (AD) of gross energy (GE), total lipid (TL) or PC. Juvenile slipper lobsters appeared to possess fully developed and efficient mechanisms for GE, TAG and PC digestion (>95% AD). In vivo lipid class mass balance calculations demonstrated net intake of TL and TAG was considerably greater than was accumulated in the whole-body during growth. Thus, a significant proportion of dietary TL and TAG was utilised for energy and other metabolic processes. In contrast, particularly for low PL dietary treatments (≤ 0.5%), net gain of PC was greater than net intake, indicating a reliance on biosynthesis of PC. Thus, it is concluded that there is no or a very low requirement for dietary PC and thus may not be essential for the examined size class of juvenile T. australiensis when supplied adequate dietary PC biosynthetic precursors and other potentially related dietary nutrients. Further targeted research is recommended to verify if these findings are applicable to larval and early juvenile stages, and to enhance overall understanding of lipid nutritional requirements for T. australiensis.


Australian Research Council

Orna-Tas Pty Ltd

University of the Sunshine Coast


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Science Bv

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Aquaculture rock lobster

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