Compensatory growth (CG) of juvenile Acipenser sinensis was investigated over a test period of 70 days. 120 fish (mean +/- SD, 75.24 +/- 3.56 g) were divided into five feeding groups including one control group receiving continuous feeding (S0) and four experimental groups with food deprivation for 3 days (S3), 7 days (S7), 14 days (S14) and 28 days (S28), respectively. All starved fish resumed feeding comparable to S0. Fish in S3 and S7 reached in the end essentially the same weights as the control fish, indicating that complete compensatory growth occurred. Although the specific growth rates in S14 or S28 were greater than in the S0 after re-feeding, neither S14 nor S28 fish reached the same body weight of S0 fish at the end of the re-feeding period, but showed partial compensation only. With progressing starvation, muscle moisture and ash content increased significantly, lipid increased obviously in the first 7 days and thereafter decreased remarkable, protein content changed indistinctively during the first 7 days and thereafter decreased significantly, while muscle glycogen content declined obviously in the first 14 days but had a clear rise after 28 days. In the liver, moisture and protein contents raised significantly, while crude fat decreased remarkably; liver glycogen showed the same performance profile as did muscle glycogen. These results indicated that lipid and glycogen was the better nutrient during starvation than to mobilize protein in the A. sinensis juveniles.
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