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Zoologia (Curitiba)

Print version ISSN 1984-4670


DUARTE, Silvana et al. Influence of season, environment and feeding habits on the enzymatic activity of peptidase and β-glucosidase in the gastrointestinal tract of two Siluriformes fishes (Teleostei). Zoologia (Curitiba) [online]. 2013, vol.30, n.3, pp.269-306. ISSN 1984-4670.

The enzymatic activities involved in the digestion of proteins and carbohydrates were compared among three organs of the digestive track of two Siluriformes fish species, and between two areas: a reservoir, and an area downriver of it. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that the digestive organs of species with varied feeding habits have different enzymatic activities, and that the enzymatic activity differs among seasons and environmental conditions. The iliophagous/herbivorous species Hypostomus auroguttatus Kner, 1854 had higher trypsin-like, chymotrypsin-like peptidase and β-glucosidase activity in the intestine when compared with the omnivorous species Pimelodus maculatus Lacepède, 1803, whereas the latter had more hepatic trypsin-like activity than the former. The peak of activity of the three enzymes in H. auroguttatus was recorded in the winter and spring. On the other hand, P. maculatus tended to have the more prominent peptidase and β-glucosidase activity in the summer, and the smallest in the winter. The intestine of H. auroguttatus had higher enzymatic (trypsin, chymotrypsin and β-glucosidase) activity than the stomach and the liver. For P. maculatus, the highest β-glucosidase activity was found in the liver. The enzymatic activity of H. aurogutattus did not differ between lotic and lentic systems, whereas P. maculatus had comparatively higher stomach and hepatic trypsin levels and hepatic chymotrypsin-like activities in the reservoir than down in the river. These findings indicate that, in H. auroguttatus, most digestive activity occurs in the intestine, which is long and adapted for the digestion of bottom-river vegetable matter and detritus. The seasons and the type of the system (lentic vs. lotic) seem to affect the enzymatic activity for these two species differently, a likely consequence of their different lifestyles.

Keywords : Enzymatic activity; fishes; physiology; reservoirs; Siluriformes; peptidases; β-glucosidase.

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