2015 Volume 49 Issue 3 Pages 293-299
We assessed cellulase activity in several crustaceans of different taxonomic groups inhabiting the mangrove areas of Malaysia to clarify whether these animals could digest cellulose derived from mangrove trees. We investigated four Copepod species, two Mysida species, and ten Decapoda species. Three copepod species demonstrated multiple cellulase active bands that differed among species in a zymographic assay, suggesting that these animals were equipped with distinct cellulases. Interestingly, the way the cellulase were expressed in the zymographic assay differed, even among members of the same species collected at different locations, suggesting that cellulase expression patterns of copepod species are regulated by environmental factors. Although no significant cellulase activity was detected in two of the Mysida species, widespread distribution of cellulases was also detected in decapod species. Multiple common active bands in the various organs of decapod species were detected by the zymographic assay, while remarkable activity was detected in the hepatopancreas in the reducing sugar assay. The above findings suggested that cellulases are synthesized in the hepatopancreas and then secreted into digestive tracts such as the stomach and intestine. The present study shows that various crustaceans comprising most of the biotic resources in mangrove areas may be there because of their ability to digest cellulose.