Activity of the principal digestive enzymes in the detritivorous apodous holothuroid Leptosynapta galliennei and two other shallow-water holothuroids
Féral, J.-P. (1989). Activity of the principal digestive enzymes in the detritivorous apodous holothuroid Leptosynapta galliennei and two other shallow-water holothuroids. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 101: 367-379
Digestive ability by means of hydrolytic enzyme activities was studied in Leptosynapta galliennei (Herapath, 1865) and two other shallow-water deposit-feeding holothuroids: L. inhaerens (O. F. Müller, 1776) and Holothuria (Panningothuria) forskali (Delle Chiaje, 1828). The holothuroids were collected throughout the year at Roscoff (Britanny, France) from 1980 to 1985, except for L. inhaerens, which was collected in Galway Bay (Ireland) in June/July 1980. Using 25 substrates, the activity of 21 enzymes were recorded to detect hydrolysis of esters (5 substrates), glycosidic bonds (12 substrates) and peptide bonds (8 substrates). The activities of the homogenates of various parts of the gut as well as the digestive juice were measured. Esters and relatively long-chained fatty acids (up to C 14) were hydrolysed. Significant hydrolysis of naturally occurring disaccharides and starch (reserve carbohydrate) occurred. The holothuroids were also able to digest hydrolysis products of cellulose and chitin. This may also indicate a capacity to digest the products of complex compounds such as glycolipids or glycoproteins. Exopeptidases capable of hydrolyzing peptides were present, but endopeptidases able to digest proteolytic chains were not. Most enzymatic activities occurred in all parts of the gut, but some were strictly localized, usually to the anterior intestine. Extracellular digestion of fatty acids, starch and saccharose occurred only in this latter digestive segment. Disaccharidases and peptidases are linked to the plasma membrane of enterocytes. Enzymatic activities associated with lysosomes occur throughout the gut. The diet of shallow-water holothuroids is omnivorous, with a marked preference for food of vegetable origin. Annelids and holothuroids possess a similar capacity to hydrolyse most types of bonds, including peptide bonds. The chemical nature of detritus and its relationship to the nutritional requirements of detritivores must be defined, and gut-retention time ascertained, to discover if different digestive strategies are developed by different detritivores to exploit the same food source in a given environment.
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