Developing eggs and larvae of laboratory-reared gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) maintained in filtered seawater (40 ppt) at 18°C, were measured for oxygen uptake, ammonia excretion, contents of free amino acids (FAA), protein, fatty acids (FA) accumulated ammonia, and volumes of yolk-sac and oil globule. Absorption of the yolk coincided with the consumption of FAA and was complete ca. 100 h post-fertilisation. Amino acids from protein were mobilised for energy in the last part of the yolk-sac stage. Absorption of the oil globule occurred primarily after hatching following yolk absorption, and correlated with catabolism of the FA neutral lipids. Overall, FAA appear to be a significant energy substrate during the egg stage (60 to 70%) while FA from neutral lipids derived from the oil globule are the main metabolic fuel after hatching (80 to 90%). © 1994 Springer-Verlag.
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