Correlation of plasma IGF-I concentrations and growth rate in aquacultured finfish: a tool for assessing the potential of new diets.
A recently developed radioimmunoassay (RIA) for measuring insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) in a variety of fish species was used to investigate the correlation between growth rate and circulating IGF-I concentrations of barramundi (Lates calcarifer), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Southern Bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii). Plasma IGF-I concentration significantly increased with increasing ration size in barramundi and IGF-I concentration was positively correlated to growth rates obtained in Atlantic salmon (r2=0.67) and barramundi (r2=0.65) when fed a variety of diet formulations. IGF-I was also positively correlated to protein concentration (r2=0.59). This evidence suggested that measuring IGF-I concentration may provide a useful tool for monitoring fish growth rate and also as a method to rapidly assess different aquaculture diets. However, no such correlation was demonstrated in the tuna study probably due to seasonal cooling of sea surface temperature shortly before blood was sampled. Thus, some recommendations for the design and sampling strategy of nutritional trials where IGF-I concentrations are measured are discussed.