Scientia Marina, Vol 70, No S2 (2006)

Vitamins A and E in the maternal diet influence egg quality and early life stage development in fish: a review

Vince P. Palace
Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Winnipeg, Canada., United States

Julieta Werner
University of Manitoba, Department of Zoology, Winnipeg, Canada., United States


Early development in fish is dependent on essential nutrients present in the egg. Vitamins E and A are critical to the normal development of fish embryos. Vitamin E functions primarily as an antioxidant to protect unsaturated lipids from oxidative degradation. Vitamin A or its provitamin carotenoid forms support growth, are required for the differentiation and maintenance of epithelial tissue and can be converted to forms of the vitamin that are potent morphogens. Fish cannot synthesise either of the vitamins, so the maternal dietary content of each prior to oogenesis is an important determinant of reproductive fitness. Here we review the basic metabolism of vitamins E and A and carotenoids and their processing from the maternal diet and deposition into eggs. Evidence for the link between levels of each of the vitamins in eggs and measures of reproductive fitness are also discussed.


vitamins; tocopherol; retinol; carotenoids; fish eggs; reproductive fitness

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Copyright (c) 2006 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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