British Journal of Nutrition

Molecular Nutrition

Dietary plant proteins and vegetable oil blends increase adiposity and plasma lipids in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.)

Bente E. Torstensena1 c1, Marit Espea1, Ingunn Stubhauga1a2 and Øyvind Liea1

a1 National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), PO Box 2029, Strandgt 229, 5817 Bergen, Norway

a2 Skretting Aquaculture Research Centre, Stavanger, Norway


In order to study whether lipid metabolism may be affected by maximum replacement of dietary fish oil and fish meal with vegetable oils (VO) and plant proteins (PP), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) smolts were fed a control diet containing fish oil and fish meal or one of three plant-based diets through the seawater production phase for 12 months. Diets were formulated to meet all known nutrient requirements. The whole-body lipid storage pattern was measured after 12 months, as well as post-absorptive plasma, VLDL and liver TAG. To further understand the effects on lipid metabolism, expression of genes encoding for proteins involved in VLDL assembly (apoB100), fatty acid uptake (FATP1, cd36, LPL and FABP3, FABP10 and FABP11) were measured in liver and visceral adipose tissue. Maximum dietary VO and PP increased visceral lipid stores, liver TAG, and plasma VLDL and TAG concentrations. Increased plasma TAG correlated with an increased expression of apoB100, indicating increased VLDL assembly in the liver of fish fed the high-plant protein- and VO-based diet. Atlantic salmon fed intermediate replacement levels of VO or PP did not have increased body fat or visceral mass. Overall, the present results demonstrate an interaction between dietary lipids and protein on lipid metabolism, increasing overall adiposity and TAG in the body when fish meal and fish oil are replaced concomitantly at maximised levels of VO and PP.

(Received September 20 2010)

(Revised December 08 2010)

(Accepted January 26 2011)

(Online publication May 03 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Bente E. Torstensen, fax +47 55905299, email


Abbreviations: 40PP70VO, 40 % plant protein and 70 % vegetable oil blend; 80PP35VO, 80 % plant protein and 35 % vegetable oil blend; 80PP70VO, 80 % plant protein and 70 % vegetable oil blend; FABP, fatty acid binding protein; FATP, fatty acid transport protein; FMFO, 100 % fish meal and 100 % fish oil; LPL, lipoprotein lipase