Changes in lipid content and fatty acid composition of muscle, liver and ovary of captive-reared and wild silver Japanese eel Anguilla japonica were examined during artificial maturation induced by salmon pituitary homogenate (SPH) injections. Although the relative levels of n-3 and n-6 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) in liver and ovary were higher than in muscle in both captive and wild silver eels before SPH injection, these tended to decrease with maturation. The relative levels of n-6 HUFA in muscle, liver, ovary and eggs of wild silver eels were remarkably higher than those in captive eels. Therefore, we attempted to alter the ratio of n-6 HUFA in eggs by feeding eels a diet supplemented with linoleic acid-rich plant oil. Although the percentage of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids to total fatty acids in eggs of eels fed the supplemented diet was similar to wild silver eels, the percentage of n-6 HUFA remained remarkably lower than in wild silver eels. Hence, it appears that the supplemented diet affected the fatty acid composition of eggs, but did not result in much conversion of linoleic acid to its higher homologs in eels.
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