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Taxonomic and Biochemical Composition and Digestive Enzyme Activity of Periphyton and Plankton: A Comparative Study


Periphyton grown on sugarcane bundles was analyzed for major digestive enzymes in order to quantify their possible exogenous digestive enzyme contribution to the grazing fish. The proximate and taxonomic composition of constituent planktonic organisms of periphyton was compared with that of free plankton. Further, the activity of major digestive enzymes in the extracts of periphyton and free plankton was also compared. The proximate composition analysis revealed periphyton to contain more (P < 0.05) crude protein, ash, crude fibre and NFE (nitrogen-free extract) with lesser moisture content as compared to plankton. The species composition of periphyton from bagasse revealed that plankton belonging to Chlorophyceae were dominant (25.3 %), followed by Cyanophyceae (19.7 %), Bacillariophyceae (16.9 %), Conjugatophyceae (8.4 %), Desmidaceae (4.2 %), Euglenophyceae (5.6 %), Ulvophyceae (4.2 %), Dinophyceae (1.4 %), Xanthophyeae (1.4 %), Florideophyceae (1.4 %), Trebouxiophyceae (1.4 %) and zooplankton (10 %). Free plankton consisted of Chlorophyceae (24.2 %), Cyanophyceae (15.1 %), Bacillariophyceae (9.1 %), Conjugatophyceae (6.1 %), Coscinodiscophyceae (3 %), Trebouxiophyceae (3 %) and zooplankton (39.4 %). The activity of majority of digestive protease and amylase was higher in plankton and that of chymotrypsin was higher in periphyton, while lipase activity did not show any difference between plankton and periphyton. The study indicates that periphyton being a natural food is nutritionally superior to free plankton and can contribute digestive enzymes to the grazing fish, in addition to the nutrients.

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The authors are grateful the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi for funding support to conduct this study under the Project No. BT/PR5388/AAQ/3/594/2012 and the Director, Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (ICAR), Bhubaneswar for the infrastructure facility provided.

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Correspondence to Barlaya Gangadhar.

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Gangadhar, B., Sridhar, N., Umalatha, H. et al. Taxonomic and Biochemical Composition and Digestive Enzyme Activity of Periphyton and Plankton: A Comparative Study. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, Sect. B Biol. Sci. 88, 715–720 (2018).

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  • Periphyton
  • Plankton
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Proximate composition
  • Taxonomy