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Scaling Effects on Muscle Function: Power Output of Isolated Fish Muscle Fibres Performing Oscillatory Work


Bundles of 3–10 live fast fibres were isolated from the abdominal myotomes of cod (Gadus morhua L.) 13–67 cm in length. The preparations performed work under conditions simulating their activity during swimming: sinusoidal length changes were imposed about in situ fibre length, and the fibres were stimulated at a selected phase in each cycle. Strain amplitude, and the number and timing of stimuli were chosen to give maximum power output over a wide range of cycle/tailbeat frequencies. For each preparation power output was maximal at a particular frequency, although the peaks were rather broad. As the size of the fish increased the cycle frequency for maximum power output (fopt) decreased, from 12.5 Hz (13 cm fish) to 5 Hz (67 cm fish) (fopt= 1.67 L−0.52, where L is body length).