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