Section 52
Chapter 51,988

Cellulose Digestion in the Midgut of the Fungus-Growing Termite Macrotermes natalensis: the Role of Acquired Digestive Enzymes

Martin, M.M.; Martin, J.S.

Science 199(4336): 1453-1455


ISSN/ISBN: 0036-8075
PMID: 17796679
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4336.1453
Accession: 051987440

Download citation:  

The midguts of adult workers of the higher termite species Macrotermes natalensis contain the entire set of digestive enzymes required for the digestion of native cellulose. The C(x)-cellulases and the beta-glucosidases are produced, at least in part, by the termite's own midgut epithelium and salivary glands. The C(1)-cellulases, on the other hand, are acquired by the termites when they feed on a fungus that grows in their nests. We propose that the involvement of acquired digestive enzymes could serve as the basis for a general strategy of resource utilization and further suggest that the acquisition of digestive enzymes may be a widespread phenomenon among mycophagous invertebrates.

PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90