To date, there is scarce information on the metabolic and biochemical repercussions of Zn-deficiency in fish. In this work, the effect of dietary Zn-deficiency on the diet utilization and the metabolism of activated oxygen species in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) has been studied. Fish were randomly separated in different lots according to their Zn-starvation and diet intake. In crude extracts of liver, gut and muscle, total and isoenzymatic superoxide dismutase and catalase activities were analysed. Lipid peroxidation was also determined in the same tissues. Western blotting was performed using antibodies against manganese- and copperzinc-containing superoxide dismutase. Lots fed on the Zn-deficient diet and with low intake showed significantly lower weight gain and feed-conversion efficiency indexes than control trouts. However, these parameters returned to control values when trouts were recovered by feeding them a control diet ad libitum. In control trouts, three independent copperzinc superoxide dismutase isozymes were detected in liver, whereas only one isozyme was present in the other lots. However, by Western blotting analysis the presence of a manganese superoxide dismutase was found in liver from all lots except in control trouts. Catalase activity and lipid peroxidation values were mainly detected in liver and gut, respectively, and both parameters increased in all lots with respect to the control group. Our results thus suggest that in rainbow trout an oxidative stress appears to occur as a consequence of Zn-deficiency.