Enzymatic activities in the digestive tract of spirostreptid and spirobolid millipedes (Diplopoda: Spirostreptida and Spirobolida).Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2020 Mar; 241:110388.CB
Millipedes represent a model for the study of organic matter transformation, animal-microbial interactions, and compartmentalisation of digestion. The activity of saccharidases (amylase, laminarinase, cellulase, xylanase, chitinase, maltase, cellobiase, and trehalase) and protease were measured in the midgut and hindgut contents and walls of the millipedes Archispirostreptus gigas and Epibolus pulchripes. Assays done at pH 4 and 7 confirmed activities of all enzymes except xylanase. Hydrolysing of starch and laminarin prevailed. The hindgut of E. pulchripes was shorter, less differentiated. Micro-apocrine secretion was observed only in the midgut of A. gigas. Merocrine secretion was present in midgut and hindgut of E. pulchripes, and in the pyloric valve and anterior hindgut of A. gigas. Alpha-polysaccharidases were mostly active in the midgut content and walls, with higher activity at pH 4. The low activity of amylase (A. gigas) and laminarinase (E. pulchripes) in midgut tissue may indicate their synthesis in salivary glands. Cellulases were found in midgut. Chitinases, found in midgut content and tissue (E. pulchripes) or concentrated in the midgut wall (A. gigas), were more active at an acidic pH. Polysaccharidases were low in hindguts. Protease shows midgut origin and alkaline activity extending to the hindgut in E. pulchripes, whereas in A. gigas it is of salivary gland origin and acid activity restricted to the midgut. Some disaccharidases, with more alkaline activity, showed less apparent midgut-hindgut differences. It may indicate an axial separating of the primary and secondary digestion along the intestinal pH gradient or the presence of enzymes of hindgut parasites.