Cellulase and hemicellulase activity within the Tipula abdominalis larval gut
Rogers, Theresa Elizabeth
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In forested stream ecosystems of the north and eastern United States, larvae of the aquatic crane fly Tipula abdominalis are important shredders of leaf litter detritus. T. abdominalis larvae harbor a dense and diverse microbial community in their hindgut that may aide in the degradation of lignocellulose. In this study, the activities of cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic enzymes were demonstrated from hindgut extracts and from bacterial isolates using model sugar substrates. One of the bacterial isolates was characterized and represents a novel genus, Crocebacterium gen, nov., within the family Microbacteriaceae, and the type species is Crocebacterium ilecola gen, nov., sp. nov. A genomic library of this novel bacterium was constructed to find the genes that encode cellulases and hemicellulases the bacterium produces. A metagenomic library was also constructed in an attempt to find the genes encoding cellulases and hemicellulases from the T. abdominalis hindgut community, including as yet uncultivated microorganisms.