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Enzymatic Activity as an Index of Trophic Resource Utilization by the Snow Crab Chionoecetes opilio (O. Fabricius)

Jean-Claude Brêthes, Brigitte Parent and Jocelyne Pellerin
Journal of Crustacean Biology
Vol. 14, No. 2 (May, 1994), pp. 220-225
Published by: on behalf of The Crustacean Society
DOI: 10.2307/1548902
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1548902
Page Count: 6
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Enzymatic Activity as an Index of Trophic Resource Utilization by the Snow Crab Chionoecetes opilio (O. Fabricius)
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Abstract

In order to assess the food utilization of Chionoecetes opilio, we measured the activity of 5 enzymes in the digestive gland: 2 metabolize animal products (chitinase and phosphorylase-a), and 3 digest vegetal products (cellulose, alpha-amylase, and laminarinase). The analysis was made on 18 morphometrically mature males and 2 mature females. Chitinase had a high activity level (mean = 6.728 ± 1.689 units/mg of protein). Phosphorylase-a had a much lower activity level (mean = 0.114 ± 0.039 unit/mg). Alpha-amylase, while present in every crab, had a low activity level (mean = 0.102 ± 0.031 unit/mg). Cellulase was present in 85% of the crabs (mean = 0.115 ± 0.089 unit/mg). Laminarinase was hardly detected (maximum 0.002 unit/mg). The presence of active enzymes digesting vegetal products indicates that the snow crab is not a strict carnivore but is able to metabolize energy from various trophic sources, including vegetal detritus.

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