Slaughter of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in the presence of carbon monoxide

Fish Physiol Biochem. 2013 Aug;39(4):871-9. doi: 10.1007/s10695-012-9747-5. Epub 2012 Nov 21.


The different stunning methods for Atlantic salmon can still be improved with regard to animal welfare. Salmon exposed to carbon monoxide expressed no aversive reactions towards CO as such. CO exposed fish showed an earlier onset of rigour mortis and a faster decrease in muscle pH due to depletion of oxygen during the treatment. Exposure to CO did increase the level of cortisol compared to undisturbed control fish, but the increase was less than in the water only control group. Neuroglobin, a CO binding globin, was found in salmon brain and Saccus vasculosus, a richly vascularized sac connected to the fish brain. Binding of CO to neuroglobin during sedation might possibly improve animal welfare.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Carbon Monoxide*
  • Globins / metabolism
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Muscles / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neuroglobin
  • Rigor Mortis
  • Salmo salar* / metabolism


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neuroglobin
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Globins
  • Hydrocortisone