It is still open to debate whether or not leptocephali actively ingest live food organisms. The uptake of food particles and their subsequent processing would depend on the presence of digestive enzymes capable of degrading proteins and other macromolecules. Thus, the determination of proteolytic activity and trypsin specific immunostaining have been used to identify tissue segments with the potential to degrade ingested proteins. Activity of trypsin was measured in intestinal structures along the entire fish and further localised to distinctive areas of the digestive tract by anti-eel trypsin immunohistochemistry. These results suggest that the digestive system in the larvae has the capacity to degrade macromolecules.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)