keywords: Alchornea cordifolia leaf extract; growth; diet utilization; immune response; superoxide dismutase; catalase; reduced glutathione
The effects of dietary ethanolic extract of Alchornea cordifolia leaf (ACLE) on haematology, serum biochemistry, immune response and antioxidant capacity of African catfish, Clarias gariepinus was studied. A control diet (ACLE0) containing 40% crude protein was formulated and the cellulose component of the diet was replaced with ACLE at 2.5 (ACLE2.5), 5 (ACLE5), 7.5 (ACLE7.5) and 10 g/kg (ACLE10). Three replicate groups of African catfish fingerlings (initial average weight, 6.11±0.02g) received the diets for sixty-three days. Highest weight gain (32.02±1.93g), daily weight gain (0.57±0.03g) and protein efficiency ratio (2.86±0.17) were observed in the group fed ACLE10; the increases observed were however insignificant (p>0.05) relative to other groups. Dietary ACLE did not remarkably (p>0.05) alter white and red blood cell counts, haemoglobin and packed cell volume.ACLE2.5 significantly (p<0.05) favoured increased lymphocyte (55.0±1.10%) relative to the control group. Higher levels (diets ACLE7.5 and ACLE10) of A. cordifolia leaf extract significantly (p<0.05) raised serum alanine aminotransferase of C. gariepinus fingerlings. The respiratory burst activity and total immunoglobulin was not influenced (p>0.05) by the treatment. Reduced glutathione and malondialdehyde in the serum were similar (p>0.05) across dietary groups. Significantly (p<0.05)higher activities of hepatic and serum superoxide dismutase was observed in ACLE fed groups compared to the control. This study revealed that ethanolic leaf extract of A. cordifolia can effectively enhance the antioxidative capacity of C. gariepinus.