A study was conducted to determine the effects of dietary lipid and bile acids on astaxanthin absorption in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). Fish with an average weight of 1500 g were fitted with a dorsal aorta cannula and fed diets containing herring oil, soybean lecithin, lard, or herring oil supplemented with taurocholic acid (2.5 g/kg diet). Each fish was fed all of the experimental diets in successive order to minimize the effect of individual variation. At a given time following the feeding of each diet, blood was collected and analyzed for astaxanthin. Soybean lecithin significantly lowered the absorption of astaxanthin compared to fish fed herring oil. A 20% (p < 0.12) increase in blood astaxanthin was observed when the fish were fed the diet supplemented with taurocholic acid. Feeding lard significantly increased the blood astaxanthin level compared to the control group. It appears that altering the micellar structure by stimulating micellar (taurocholic acid) or mixed micellar (lecithin) systems did not increase the apparent absorption of astaxanthin. However, increasing the phospholipid level may have actually decreased the absorption possibly by lowering the astaxanthin solubility in the micelles. The increased apparent absorption of astaxanthin with lard is possibly linked to the increased content of 16:0, 18:1n - 9 or 18:2n - 6 fatty acids in this diet, or a reduction in very long chain monoenes (20:1n - 9 and 22:1n - 9). This suggests that the solubility of astaxanthin is higher in diets containing higher levels of 16:0 or 18:1n - 1, or alternatively, that reductions in longer chain monoenes (20:1n - 9 and 22:1n - 9) increase the micellar solubility of this pigment.