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J Nutr. 1985 May;115(5):553-67.

Influence of dietary calcium, phosphorus, zinc and sodium phytate level on cataract incidence, growth and histopathology in juvenile chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).


To determine the influence of wide variations in dietary levels of calcium, zinc and phytic acid (as sodium phytate) on growth and cataract incidence, juvenile chinook salmon held at 10-11 degrees C were fed daily to satiation for 105 d one of nine purified diets containing one of three levels (grams/kilogram) of calcium (averaged 4.8, 17.7, 50.2), zinc (averaged 0.05, 0.15, 0.39) and phytic acid (1.62, 6.46, 25.8). Diets were formulated to have a calcium-phosphorus ratio of close to unity when considering phosphorus sources other than sodium phytate. High dietary phytic acid concentration (25.8 g/kg) depressed chinook salmon growth, food and protein conversion [protein efficiency ratio (PER)] and thyroid function, increased mortality, promoted cataract formation (zinc at 0.05 g/kg) and induced anomalies in pyloric cecal structure. Calcium at 51 g/kg (or phosphorus) exacerbated the effects of high dietary phytate and low dietary zinc on cataract incidence. Moreover, high dietary levels of calcium (48-51 g/kg) coupled with phosphorus significantly impaired the growth and appetite of low phytic acid (1.62 g/kg) groups and led to nephrocalcinosis in low and high phytic acid groups. Plasma zinc levels were directly related to dietary zinc concentration and inversely related to dietary phytic acid level. Calcium (51 g/kg) and/or phosphorus reduced zinc bioavailability when the diet concurrently contained 0.05 g zinc and 25.8 g of phytic acid per kilogram. It is concluded that zinc is essential for normal eye development in juvenile chinook salmon. Further, zinc deficiency could not be induced in chinook salmon fed diets with high ratios of calcium (or phosphorus) to zinc alone. This required the simultaneous presence of a strong mineral (zinc)-binding agent.

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