Trehalase is the hydrolytic enzyme that catalyzed the hydrolysis of trehalose to glucose. In this study, trehalase activity in the fungus-growing termite, Odontotermes feae Wasmann had been examined. Trehalase activity in digestive tract and carcass of O. feae was higher than that in woodfeeding termite, Coptotermes gestroi Wasmann. The intestinal tract of worker caste of O. feae was the main source of trehalase compared with that in salivary, fat body, and carcass. In particular, the highest activity was found in the midgut and hindgut parts. More specifically, the contents of midgut and hindgut had higher enzyme activity compared with that trehalase prepared from their epithelial tissue. The enzyme activity of gut trehalase in three different termite castes, worker, soldier, and reproductive, had been determined. The result showed that female alate had the highest activity, followed by worker, male alate, and soldier castes. Trehalose concentration in the reproductive caste was at lowest level, while soldier and worker contained the high trehalose concentration. This study indicates that high trehalase activity locates in the midgut and hindgut contents and change in trehalase activity in fungus-growing termite is caste-specific. Validamycin inhibited trehalase activity of O. feae in vivo and caused high mortality, indicating that this trehalase inhibitor is valuable tools for termite control.
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Vol. 107 • No. 3