Gastrointestinal Physiology of Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum) with Gastric Dilation Air Sacculitis (GDAS)
Thesis DisciplineAnimal Physiology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The syndrome known as Gastric Dilation Air Sacculitis (GDAS) has recently been described by Lumsden et al. (2002) for Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, Walbaum), in seawater (SW) culture in New Zealand. The syndrome is characterised by distended abdomens, gastric dilation and air sacculitis, increased feed conversion ratios (FCR) and mortality. Consequently, financial returns on affected stocks are greatly reduced. A study into the epidemiology and physiology of the syndrome was initiated, working with the major aquaculture company, The New Zealand King Salmon Company (NZKS). The study revealed causative factors of GDAS. GDAS was experimentally induced only in saltwater by feeding a commercially manufactured low-cohesion pelleted diet. Control groups were fed a different diet with high physical cohesion. Low-cohesion pellets have previously been associated with a high incidence of GDAS in commercial sea cages. These data implicated osmoregulatory stress and physical properties of the feed in GDAS development. In addition, gastrointestinal (GI) physiology in GDAS -affected and -control fish was characterised. The process of GDAS development in O. tshawytscha is characterised by a loss of smooth muscle tone of the stomach as it distends. Laplace's law (P= 2T/r, where P is the distending pressure, T is the tension in the wall and r is the radius of the cylinder) predicts that unless muscle mass increases, the ability of the stomach wall to contract will be lost and consequently a loss of GI motor function will result. Therefore, GI circular smooth muscle integrity in terms of (1) stimulated and maximal contractility, (2) osmoregulatory ability of the intestine and the (3) control of the GI system was studied in pathologically affected (+ve) and unaffected (-ve) smolt. Affected fish showed changes in GI circular smooth muscle function and osmoregulatory dysfunction. Feeding different diets induced distinct gastric evacuation patterns. The intestinal brake hypothesis is presented and argued to be the probable mechanism for GDAS development. GDAS (+ve) serum showed the presence of factors capable of contracting gut smooth muscle. In addition, potential humoral mediators of the intestinal brake in fish were investigated.