Morphometry of some structural parameters affecting oxgyen diffusion in body trunk red muscle at different sizes of a tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus
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Morphometric measurements were carried out on some of the structural parameters affecting oxygen diffusing capacity in red muscle of 15 specimens of O. niloticus body weight (b.w.) 0.65–812.3 g. Total capillary length and surface area and total morphometric oxygen diffusing capacity in body trunk red muscle had average values of 4792·7 (± 1740.7 s.e.) m, 415·4 (± 157·3 s.e.) cm2 and 0·0213 (± 0·0075 s.e.) ml−1 min−1 cm−2 mmHg respectively. When expressed as functions of b.w. these parameters had scaling values of 1·02, 1·07 and 0·993 respectively. These figures show a slight increase or almost no change in these structural parameters (which affect diffusion of oxygen to mitochondria in red muscle) per unit weight of fish. This should be important as the role of sustained swimming (by red muscle) becomes more important in larger tilapia. Oxygen diffusion distances were short [3·11 (±0·16 s.e.) μm] which facilitates diffusion of oxygen to mitochondria. The scaling value for oxygen diffusion distances of 0·067 (with respect to body weight) shows a slight increase in this parameter with development. This value is significantly different from zero.