Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

"Food Processor" Enzyme Of Chitin Found In Trout

Date:
October 10, 2000
Source:
University Of Maryland Biotechnology Center
Summary:
Researchers may have solved part of a puzzle of the sea: where does all the chitin go--the substance that makes up all the shells of crabs, lobsters and shrimp and other crustaceans? Chitin may be the most abundant natural compound in the sea with estimates of up to 10 million metric tons alone in tiny crustaceans called krill.

TOWNSVILLE, Queensland, Aust.--Researchers may have solved part of a puzzle of the sea: where does all the chitin go--the substance that makes up all the shells of crabs, lobsters and shrimp and other crustaceans?

Related Articles


Chitin may be the most abundant natural compound in the sea with estimates of up to 10 million metric tons alone in tiny crustaceans called krill. However, scientists have not yet found a sufficient natural sink, an endpoint where all the chitin goes.

At the International Marine Biotechnology Conference today, Cassandra M. Moe reported finding an enzyme in the gut of rainbow trout, Onchorynchus mykiss that degrades chitin. Moe, a graduate research assistant, and colleagues at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute's Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB) have identified the chitinase in a wide range of vertebrate species of fish, birds, reptiles and mammals.

It is the first gastric chitinase reported characterized in vertebrate animals, said Moe.

In the COMB tests on vertebrate animals, rainbow trout, which feeds mostly on insects, showed the highest amounts of the chitinase in the gut, said Moe. But there is an odd twist to the story. Little of the chitin that passes through the trout gut actually gets digested.

"Based on our findings, we think chitinase may be an ancient gastric enzyme that may be pathogenic, attacking fungi or bacteria, instead of being a digestive enzyme. It is not a product of the gut flora," said Moe. She added that scientists in The Netherlands have found chitinase in human macrophages, immunity cells in the blood, probably as a defense against microbial invaders.

The COMB researchers have purified the chitinase from the gastric tissues of the rainbow trout. Moe said in the trout the enzyme may also act as "a food processor" to break chitin away from cuticles that hold skeletal tissues in place on the prey they eat.

Chitin is also abundant in fungi, worms, spiders, insects and some algae. It is the second most common natural product on Earth after cellulose.

COMB, in Baltimore, Md. USA, is one of five centers of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, a unique life sciences research and education arm of the University System of Maryland. One of UMBI's first two research centers founded in 1985, COMB has achieved international recognition as a center of excellence in the study, protection and enhancement of marine resources.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Maryland Biotechnology Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Maryland Biotechnology Center. ""Food Processor" Enzyme Of Chitin Found In Trout." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001010072706.htm>.
University Of Maryland Biotechnology Center. (2000, October 10). "Food Processor" Enzyme Of Chitin Found In Trout. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001010072706.htm
University Of Maryland Biotechnology Center. ""Food Processor" Enzyme Of Chitin Found In Trout." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/10/001010072706.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Harvard researchers found that girls who consumed more than 1.5 sugary drinks a day had their first period earlier than those who drank less. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Hold Emergency Meeting to Save Endangered Rhinos

Scientists Hold Emergency Meeting to Save Endangered Rhinos

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Conservationists and scientists hold talks in Kenya to come up with a last ditch plan to save the northern white rhinoceros from extinction. Duration: 01:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins