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Paper Details

Cellulase Sources in the Eudrilid Earthworm, Eudrilus Eugeniae

1Aladesida, A.A., 2Owa, S.O., 1Dedeke, G.A., 3Osho, B.A. and 4Adewoyin, O.A.

Journal Title:Journal of Chemical, Biological and physical sciences

Earthworms have been known to breakdown leaf litter to release the nutrients laden in the leaves. Their ability to breakdown leaf litter implies that they have a source of cellulose. The present work looked at these sources to establish if they were exogenous or endogenous in origin. Earthworm samples of the species Eudriluseugeniaewere fed with tissue paper as cellulose source. The resulting faecal droppings were subjected to various carbohydrate tests to confirm the final products. Some of the worms were defaunated by treating with antibiotics to ensure the cellulose source was exogenous. Survival tests were also carried out on the faunated and defaunated earthworms. The results showed by Molisch's test the presence of carbohydrate in both fresh and egested tissue paper; while Benedict test and Barfoed's test indicate that the ingested tissue paper was digested to monosaccharide level. Seliwanoff's test also confirmed that the breakdown product was the monosaccharide fructose. Result of the survival test showed a significantly higher survival rate in the faunated than the defaunated earthworms. The results also showed that cellulose is of both exogenous and endogenous source to the earthworms. It is thus proposed that in plant litter treatments introduction of earthworms should be encouraged above merely introducing microbes as the gut of the worms is here shown to support microbial activity.