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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e25144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025144. Epub 2011 Sep 16.

In situ enzyme activity in the dissolved and particulate fraction of the fluid from four pitcher plant species of the genus Nepenthes.

Author information

1
Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. takeuchi_yayoi@soken.ac.jp

Abstract

The genus Nepenthes, a carnivorous plant, has a pitcher to trap insects and digest them in the contained fluid to gain nutrient. A distinctive character of the pitcher fluid is the digestive enzyme activity that may be derived from plants and dwelling microbes. However, little is known about in situ digestive enzymes in the fluid. Here we examined the pitcher fluid from four species of Nepenthes. High bacterial density was observed within the fluids, ranging from 7×10(6) to 2.2×10(8) cells ml(-1). We measured the activity of three common enzymes in the fluid: acid phosphatases, β-D-glucosidases, and β-D-glucosaminidases. All the tested enzymes detected in the liquid of all the pitcher species showed activity that considerably exceeded that observed in aquatic environments such as freshwater, seawater, and sediment. Our results indicate that high enzyme activity within a pitcher could assist in the rapid decomposition of prey to maximize efficient nutrient use. In addition, we filtered the fluid to distinguish between dissolved enzyme activity and particle-bound activity. As a result, filtration treatment significantly decreased the activity in all enzymes, while pH value and Nepenthes species did not affect the enzyme activity. It suggested that enzymes bound to bacteria and other organic particles also would significantly contribute to the total enzyme activity of the fluid. Since organic particles are themselves usually colonized by attached and highly active bacteria, it is possible that microbe-derived enzymes also play an important role in nutrient recycling within the fluid and affect the metabolism of the Nepenthes pitcher plant.

PMID:
21949872
PMCID:
PMC3174996
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0025144
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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