A diet containing a high proportion of alewives Alosa pseudoharengus results in a thiamine deficiency that has been associated with high larval salmonid mortality, known as early mortality syndrome (EMS), but relatively little is known about the effects of the deficiency on adults. Using thiamine injection (50 mg thiamine/kg body weight) of ascending adult female coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch on the Platte River, Michigan, we investigated the effects of thiamine supplementation on migration, adult survival, and thiamine status. The thiamine concentrations of eggs, muscle (red and white), spleen, kidney (head and trunk), and liver and the transketolase activity of the liver, head kidney, and trunk kidney of fish injected with thiamine dissolved in physiological saline (PST) or physiological saline only (PS) were compared with those of uninjected fish. The injection did not affect the number of fish making the 15-km upstream migration to a collection weir but did affect survival once fish reached the upstream weir, where survival of PST-injected fish was almost twice that of controls. The egg and liver thiamine concentrations in PS fish sampled after their upstream migration were significantly lower than those of uninjected fish collected at the downstream weir, but the white muscle thiamine concentration did not differ between the two groups. At the upper weir, thiamine levels in the liver, spleen, head kidney, and trunk kidney of PS fish were indistinguishable from those of uninjected fish (called "wigglers") suffering from a severe deficiency and exhibiting reduced equilibrium, a stage that precedes total loss of equilibrium and death. For PST fish collected at the upstream weir, total thiamine levels in all tissues were significantly elevated over those of PS fish. Based on the limited number of tissues examined, thiamine status was indicated better by tissue thiamine concentration than by transketolase activity. The adult injection method we used appears to be a more effective means of increasing egg thiamine levels than immersion of eggs in a thiamine solution. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2005.
Additional publication details
The effect of thiamine injection on upstream migration, survival, and thiamine status of putative thiamine-deficient coho salmon