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The effects of various lignocelluloses and lignins on physiological responses of a lower termite, Coptotermes formosanus

Tarmadi, Didi, Yoshimura, Tsuyoshi, Tobimatsu, Yuki, Yamamura, Masaomi, Miyamoto, Takuji, Miyagawa, Yasuyuki, Umezawa, Toshiaki
Journal of wood science 2017 v.63 no.5 pp. 464-472
Coptotermes formosanus, Cryptomeria japonica, Fagus crenata, diet, grasses, hardwood, hindgut, lignin, lignocellulose, physiological response, protists, rice, softwood, starvation
We investigated the physiological responses of a lower termite, Coptotermes formosanus, fed on various lignocelluloses and purified lignins (milled-wood lignins, MWLs) from Japanese cedar (softwood), Japanese beech (hardwood), and rice (grass). Termite survival, body mass, and the changes of the symbiotic protists in the hindgut of workers were observed for 4 weeks. The survival, body mass and presence of both Pseudotrichonympha grassii and Holomastigotoides hartmanni in the hindgut of workers fed on rice lignocellulose at the 4th week of observation were significantly lower than those of the workers fed on Japanese cedar and Japanese beech lignocellulose samples, whereas there was no significant difference in Spirotrichonympha leidyi among all the diets. The three purified MWLs, regardless of their structural differences, did not show any significant differences for the termites’ survival or body mass or the survival of all the three protists. The three MWL diets resulted in significantly lower termite survival compared to starvation, although these diets showed no significant effects on body mass or the protist profiles. Overall, lignins are hardly utilized as a nutrient source by C. formosanus workers and are even rather detrimental to termites when fed on solely.