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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Histochemical localisation of carbonic anhydrase in the digestive tract and salivary glands of the house cricket, Acheta domesticus

Thorsson, E.; Jansson, A.; Vaga, M.; Holm, L.


The house cricket (Acheta domesticus) is one of several cricket species with great potential to be farmed as a sustainable protein source. In order to succeed in large-scale cricket farming, knowledge of cricket digestion is essential. The digestive tract morphology of A. domesticus is well documented, but knowledge of the salivary glands is lacking. In the digestive tract of insects, the carbonic anhydrase (CA) enzyme family is believed to contribute to the luminal pH gradient. Presence of CA in the digestive tract of A. domesticus has been reported, but not the cellular localisation. This study examined the digestive tract of A. domesticus, including salivary glands, and the cellular localisation and activity of CA in fed or starved (48 h) males and females. Tissues were collected from third-generation offspring of wild A. domesticus captured in Sweden and the histology of the salivary glands and the cellular localisation of CA in the digestive tract of A. domesticus were determined, to our knowledge for the first time. The salivary glands resembled those of grasshoppers and locusts, and we suggest the two main cell types present to be parietal and zymogenic cells. Histochemical analysis revealed that CA activity was localised in midgut epithelium, both main cell types of salivary gland, and muscle along the entire digestive tract. These findings support the suggestion that CA contributes to digestive tract luminal pH gradient, by driving acidic secretions from the salivary glands and alkaline secretions from the midgut. Starvation resulted in significantly reduced body size and weight, but neither starvation nor sex had any effect on CA activity or localisation.


histology; gastrointestinal tract; pH; enzyme histochemistry

Published in

Journal of insects as food and feed
2020, Volume: 6, number: 2, pages: 191-198