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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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/content/journals/10.1163/193724094x00218
1994-01-01
2016-12-04

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