Termites eating wood symbiotic relationship

termites eating wood symbiotic relationship

The symbiotic relationship of termites and their eukaryotic and prokaryotic Heterotrophic bacteria present in hindguts of wood-eating termites. Termites, of course, are famous as the organisms that eat wood -- often the wood in However, termites could not feed on wood without the help of symbiotic. These protozoa actually break down the wood inside the termite, producing Mutualism is a specific form of symbiotic relationship in which two separate.

They do not nest in the soil but mainly nest in decaying stumps, logs and eucalypt trees.

termites eating wood symbiotic relationship

In Malaysia alone, it is estimated there could be species of termites representing 48 genera that live in different habitats in the country Tho, A termite can correspond to up biomass of invertebrates in decomposing trunks Bandeira and Torres, At least ten identified species are known to invade wooden structures, paper products, cotton clothings or ornamental trees. Other essentially threatening species in Malaysia include Odontotermes sp. The Mastotermitidae, Kalotermitidae, Termopsidae, Hodotermitidae and Rhinotermitidae families are identified as the lower termites, whilst the Serritermitidae, and Termitidae families are acknowledged as the higher termites.

The main difference between higher and lower termites is the gut of lower termites comprises with protozoa, while the gut of higher termites is lack of protozoa Varma et al. In the digestive tracts of lower termites, degrading of cellulose is depend on flagellates, yeasts and bacteria Breznak and Brune, ; Varma et al. The higher termites are able to decompose cellulose by using their own enzymes Ohkuma, through the gut passage.

Symbioses in the Termite Gut

Scientists discovered that diets and digestion of cellulose seems to differ between higher and lower termites. In addition, most of the species of lower termites are wood-feeding termite.

The digestion resistance of woods causes the termites to favour wood that has been attacked by fungi. With the presence of fungi mycelia, the woods are richer in protein content and easier to be utilised by termites.

Symbiotic bacterium in termite gut pinned down | RIKEN

By digestion of lignocelluloses and extract their dietary requirements from food resources, it create the symbiotic relationship of termites with the intestinal flagellates and bacteria contained in a large dilatation of their hindgut, which is the paunch. By contrast, higher termites do not harbour flagellates and typically lack protists hence show different feeding habits. Higher termites decompose cellulose efficiently in the absence of hindgut flagellate protozoa Li et al.

The Termitidae ingest a wide range of materials include leaves, roots, grass, dung, and soil humus Wood and Johnson, In addition, there are two groups in Termitidae, fungus-cultivating species and non-fungus-cultivating species. The fungus-cultivating species of termites are able to build a large fungal garden in their nests. The garden is constructed by assembly partially digested plant materials and further digested by fungal mycelium Wood and Thomas, Humans, for example, have many mutually beneficial relationships with some of our intestinal microbiota.

For instance, several species of Bacterioides and Escherichia are our principle source of vitamin K which is an essential factor involved in blood clotting.

Symbiotic bacterium in termite gut pinned down

Other species have been shown to be important sources of some B vitamins, and recently one species of Bacterioides has been determined to be an essential component in the development of blood vessels of the small intestine. Among all of the species known to science, none seem to stretch the boundaries of mutualism to the extent of that exhibited by the termites.

Termite bodies are literally crammed full of various symbiotic organisms which are, in many cases, crammed full themselves with their own microbiota. To observe this firsthand, try this activity. Within the digestive tract of these termites is a diverse microbial world that has evolved along with the termites' ecologic role in the environment.

Termites, like most animals, lack the enzymes necessary to break down the principle components of plant tissues: How then do termites manage to survive on a diet of wood? The termite's microbes also produce gasses during this breakdown process.

Methane gas is a major product and termites are a large source of methane in our atmosphere. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Termite gut microbes | NOLL LAB

No one microbe in the termite gut can do the job. A whole community of microorganisms is necessary. These microbes belong to three groups, bacteriaarchaea and protozoans.

termites eating wood symbiotic relationship

Organisms that live with one another for long periods of time are said to live in symbiosis. The symbioses in the termite gut are often beneficial to both partners and so are called a mutualistic relationship.

Sometimes neither partner can live without the other, so the relationship is called an obligate symbiosis.

The protozoans and the bacteria and archeae that live insided them often depend upon one another and cannot live without each other, so they are an example of an obligate symbiosis. The bacteria and archaea that live inside their partner are also called endosymbionts"endo-" meaning "within. Bacteria and archaea are about a ten times smaller and appear as small specks in these photos.