Distribution of cellulases in the body of Coptotermes formosanus and the probability that the termite uses glucose as an energy and carbon sources

IRG/WP 97-10202

S Itakura, H Tanaka, A Enoki

We assayed extracts of the digestive system and of the whole body of Coptotermes formosanus to determine where the various cellulases, glucose, and related substances were concentrated and to detect pyruvate dehydrogenase activity in the hindgut-removed body in order to verify its full cellulolytic system. About 20%, 18% and 36% of the total exo-1,4-ß-glucanase activity of C. formosanus were detected in the salivary glands, midgut, and hindgut, respectively. About a third of the total endo-1,4-ß-glucanase activity in the termite was detected in the salivary glands (34.5%) whereas the activities in the midgut and hindgut were 21.1% and 18.2%, respectively. About 75% of the total ß-D-glucosidase activity in the termite was detected in the midgut. Thus all the necessary cellulases for hydrolysis of natural cellulose to glucose were present in the region ranging from the salivary glands to the midgut in significant amounts. Most of the glucose and trehalose detected in the termite existed in the gutted-body. Most of the glucose detected in the gut existed in the midgut. Pyruvic acid was directly converted to acetyl-CoA in the presence of NAD+ by a crude extract of the gutted-body. These results suggest that natural cellulose ingested by the termite is hydrolyzed to oligosaccharides in the region of the foregut and midgut as well as in the hindgut, that oligosaccharides are hydrolyzed to glucose predominantly in the midgut, and that the resultant glucose is absorbed through the midgut wall into the tissues to be used as important energy and carbon sources.


Conference: 97-05-25/30 Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

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