Deakin University
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Presence and properties of cellulase and hemicellulase enzymes of the gecarcinid land crabs Gecarcoidea natalis and Discoplax hirtipes.

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journal contribution
posted on 2004-11-01, 00:00 authored by Stuart Linton, P Greenaway
Digestive juice from the herbivorous gecarcinid land crabs Gecarcoidea natalis and Discoplax hirtipes exhibited total cellulase activity and activities of two cellulase enzymes; endo-ß-1,4-glucanase and ß-1,4-glucosidase. These enzymes hydrolysed native cellulose to glucose. The digestive juice of both species also contained laminarinase, licheninase and xylanase, which hydrolysed laminarin, lichenin and xylan, respectively, to component sugars. The pH optima of ß-1,4-glucosidase, endo-ß-1,4-glucanase and total cellulase from G. natalis were 4–5.5, 5.5 and 5.5–7, respectively. In the digestive juice from D. hirtipes, the corresponding values were 4–7, 5.5–7 and 4–9, respectively. The pH of the digestive juice was 6.69±0.03 for G. natalis and 6.03±0.04 for D. hirtipes and it is likely that the cellulases operate near maximally in vivo. In G. natalis, total cellulase activity and endo-ß-1,4-glucanase activity were higher than in D. hirtipes, and the former species can thus hydrolyse cellulose more rapidly. ß-1,4-glucosidase from G. natalis was inhibited less by glucono-D-lactone (Ki=11.12 mmol l-1) than was the ß-1,4-glucosidase from D. hirtipes (Ki=4.53 mmol l-1). The greater resistance to inhibition by the ß-1,4-glucosidase from G. natalis may contribute to the efficiency of the cellulase system in vivo by counteracting the effects of product inhibition and possibly dietary tannins. The activity of ß-1,4-glucosidase in the digestive juice of D. hirtipes was higher than that of G. natalis.



Journal of experimental biology




4095 - 4104


Cambridge, England

Open access

  • Yes







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2004, Cambridge University Press