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Recycling of fecal pellets in isopods : Microorganisms and nitrogen compounds as potential food for Oniscus asellus L

  • Torsten Gunnarsson
  • Anders Tunlid
Publishing year: 1986-01-01
Language: English
Pages: 595-600
Publication/Series: Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume: 18
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

The isopod Oniscus asellus was fed wood pieces. The fecal pellets produced during 6 days were reingested twice. Both fresh and ageing pellets were examined for microorganisms and nitrogen compounds including proteins and bacterial cell wall compounds, d-alanine and diaminopimelic acid. In old pellets, the plate counts of fungi decreased but that of bacteria as well as the concentrations of proteins and bacterial cell wall compounds increased from the first to the third gut passage. Immediately after a gut passage, the counts of microorganisms were lower than before the passage whereas the concentrations of bacterial cell wall compounds and proteins were higher. This indicates that both growth and lysis of bacteria occurred in the guts but that a considerable part of the bacterial cells were not digested and assimilated by the isopods. Comparison of the bacterial cell wall compounds also indicated shifts in the ratio of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria during gut passages and during ageing of the fecal pellets. The concentration of total N did not markedly change after the second and third gut passages, indicating that the availability of N decreased due to accumulation of N into relatively recalcitrant proteins and bacterial cell walls.


  • Ecology


  • ISSN: 0038-0717
Anders Tunlid
E-mail: anders [dot] tunlid [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

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