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 December 22, 2014 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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