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The study was made to determine if enzymatic degradation of chitin occurs in the digestive tract of the cod, Gadus morhua. The method employed corresponds to the end product measurement of Jeuniaux (1966), using ‘native’ chitin as the substrate. The following results were obtained.

  • 1
    Chitinolytic enzyme of high activity is present in enzyme solutions from the stomach contents, gastric mucosa and intestinal contents.
  • 2
    Lower chitinase activities are found in samples of the intestinal mucosa and the pyloric caeca.
  • 3
    The optimum pH ranges for the action of the enzymes in the stomach and the intestine differ: 4.5–5.1 and 5.1–6.5, respectively.
  • 4
    The role of chitin-decomposing bacteria is discussed, based on bacterial numbers and pH conditions in the digestive tract. The existence of two different enzyme systems is indicated.