Effects of carotenoid sources on pigmentation, sensory properties and fatty acid composition of rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) were investigated. The fish (120.51 +/- 0.75 g) were fed with diets containing 1.8% marigold flower, 5% red pepper, 70 mg kg(-1) commercial astaxanthin and compared with a control group for 60 days. Commercial astaxanthin provided the highest carotenoid accumulation in the fish, and this was followed by red pepper and marigold flower (p < 0.05). Dietary carotenoid sources did not significantly affect fatty acid composition of the fish fillets. Trout muscle coloured with commercial astaxanthin was more preferred than the others by the sensory panellists. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.