Main content area

Carbon ecology of termite gut and phenol degradation by a bacterium isolated from the gut of termite

Van Dexter, Seth, Oubre, Christopher, Boopathy, Raj
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology 2019 v.46 no.9-10 pp. 1265-1271
Acer rubrum, Acinetobacter, Nyssa aquatica, Quercus, Reticulitermes flavipes, abdomen, acetates, agar, anaerobic conditions, bacteria, bacterial growth, carbon, cellobiose, diet, digestive system, ecology, hardwood, metagenomics, phenol, transcriptomics, trees
Metagenomics and transcriptomics have had some success analyzing community and functional ecology of the termite gut, but carbon utilization ecology and the effect of diet on the gut community are not well understood. This study was done to determine the effect of three hardwood tree types, oak (Quercus spp.), red maple (Acer rubrum), and tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) on the termite species, Reticulitermes flavipes in the family Rhinotermitidae. Termite abdomen homogenates were incubated on agar plates containing three common carbon sources in the termite gut, namely, acetate, cellobiose, and phenol under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Bacterial growth was higher on cellobiose than any other carbon source. Higher bacterial growth on cellobiose was observed from termite colonies feeding on oak than on phenol from the other two wood types. The difference between aerobic and anaerobic conditions was not significant. A bacterium, Acinetobacter tandoii isolated and identified from our previous study was subjected to high concentrations of phenol as the sole carbon source and this bacterium was able to degrade phenol concentration up to 600 mg/L.