Anoxia stress and effect on flesh quality and gene expression of tilapia

Abstract We evaluated the effect of the length of stay out of water on stress, gene expression, pH variation, blood parameters, histological analysis and water holding capacity (WHC) in fillets of the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) cultivated in net-tanks. For this purpose, the fishes were maintained out of water under different periods of anoxia. Three and 6 min of anoxia in the pre-slaughter period increased the blood levels and mRNA expression of heat shock protein 70 the Nile tilapia and produced fillets with a less firm texture (greater sarcomere length). The evaluated periods of anoxia did not markedly affect pH and WHC. These results demonstrate that a pre-slaughter period of acute stress of up to 6 min does not considerably affect the quality of meat. The fillets of fish slaughtered in the early evening had a higher WHC and lower plasma glucose level than those slaughtered at the other time periods (morning and afternoon).