Nutritional status of Lake Michigan Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is inadequately documented. An investigation was conducted to determine muscle and liver thiamine content and whole body fatty acid composition in small, medium and large Chinook salmon. Muscle and liver thiamine concentrations were highest in small salmon, and tended to decrease with increasing fish size. Muscle thiamine was higher in fall than spring in large salmon. The high percentage of Chinook salmon (24–32% in fall and 58–71% in spring) with muscle thiamine concentration below 500 pmol/g, which has been associated with loss of equilibrium and death in other Great Lake salmonines, suggest that Chinook appear to rely less on thiamine than other Great Lakes species for which such low concentrations would be associated with thiamine deficiency (Brown et al. 2005b). A positive correlation was observed between liver total thiamine and percent liver lipids (r = 0.53, P < 0.0001, n = 119). In medium and large salmon, liver lipids were observed to be low in fish with less than 4,000 pmol/g liver total thiamine. In individuals with greater than 4,000 pmol/g liver thiamine, liver lipid increased with thiamine concentration. Individual fatty acids declined between fall and spring. Essential omega-3 fatty acids appear to be conserved as lipid content declined. Arachidonic acid (C20:4n6), an essential omega-6 fatty acid was not different between fall and spring, although the sum of omega-6 (Sw6) fatty acids declined over winter. Elevated concentrations of saturated fatty acids (sum) were observed in whole body tissue lipid. In summary, thiamine, a dietary essential vitamin, and individual fatty acids were found to vary in Lake Michigan Chinook salmon by fish size and season of the year.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4