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Comparative Study
, 13, 37

Character of Cellulase Activity in the Guts of Flagellate-Free Termites With Different Feeding Habits

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Comparative Study

Character of Cellulase Activity in the Guts of Flagellate-Free Termites With Different Feeding Habits

Zhi-Qiang Li et al. J Insect Sci.

Abstract

Cellulose digestion in termites (Isoptera) is highly important for ecological reasons and applications in biofuel conversion. The speciose Termitidae family has lost flagellates in the hindgut and developed diverse feeding habits. To address the response of cellulase activity to the differentiation of feeding habits, a comparative study of the activity and distribution of composite cellulases, endo-β-1,4-glucanase, and β-glucosidase was performed in seven common flagellate-free termites with three feeding habits: the humus-feeding termites Sinocapritermes mushae (Oshima et Maki), Malaysiocapritermes zhangfengensis Zhu, Yang et Huang and Pericapritermes jiangtsekiangensis (Kemner); the fungus-growing termites Macrotermes barneyi Light and Odontotermes formosanus (Shiraki); and the wood-feeding termites Nasutitermes parvonasutus (Shiraki) and Havilanditermes orthonasus (Tsai et Chen). The results showed that in diverse feeding groups, the wood-feeding group had the highest total composite cellulase and endo-β-1,4-glucanase activities, while the fungus-growing group had the highest β-glucosidase activity. In terms of the distribution of cellulase activity in the alimentary canals, the cellulase activities in wood-feeding termites were concentrated in the midgut, but there was no significant difference between all gut segments in humus-feeding termites. As for the fungus-growing termites, the main site of composite cellulase activity was in the midgut. The endo-β-1,4-glucanase activity was restricted to the midgut, but the primary site of β-glucosidase activity was in the foregut and the midgut (Mac. barneyi). The functions of the gut segments apparently differentiated between feeding groups. The results suggest that the differentiation of feeding habits in flagellate-free termites was characterized by the distribution of cellulases in the gut rather than by variations in cellulase activity.

Figures

Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Comparison of the mean total activities of the composite cellulase (FPase), endo-β-1, 4-glucanase (EG), and β-glucosidase (BG) in the different termite feeding groups. Histograms with different letters above them are significantly different (ANOVA and Duncan's multiple test, p < 0.05). High quality figures are available online.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Distribution of mean composite cellulase (FPase) activities in the guts of different termite feeding groups. Histograms with different letters above them are significantly different (ANOVA and Duncan's multiple test, p < 0.05). High quality figures are available online.
Figure 3.
Figure 3.
Distribution of mean endo-β-1, 4-glucanase (EG) activities in the guts of different termite feeding groups. Histograms with different letters above them are significantly different (ANOVA and Duncan's multiple test, p < 0.05). High quality figures are available online.
Figure 4.
Figure 4.
Distribution of mean β-glucosidase (BG) activities in the guts of different termite feeding groups. Histograms with different letters above them are significantly different (ANOVA and Duncan's multiple test, p < 0.05). High quality figures are available online.

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