Microbial Community Diversity in the Gut of the South American Termite Cornitermes cumulans (Isoptera: Termitidae)
- First Online:
- 886 Downloads
Termites inhabit tropical and subtropical areas where they contribute to structure and composition of soils by efficiently degrading biomass with aid of resident gut microbiota. In this study, culture-independent molecular analysis was performed based on bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA clone libraries to describe the gut microbial communities within Cornitermes cumulans, a South American litter-feeding termite. Our data reveal extensive bacterial diversity, mainly composed of organisms from the phyla Spirochaetes, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Fibrobacteres. In contrast, a low diversity of archaeal 16S rRNA sequences was found, comprising mainly members of the Crenarchaeota phylum. The diversity of archaeal methanogens was further analyzed by sequencing clones from a library for the mcrA gene, which encodes the enzyme methyl coenzyme reductase, responsible for catalyzing the last step in methane production, methane being an important greenhouse gas. The mcrA sequences were diverse and divided phylogenetically into three clades related to uncultured environmental archaea and methanogens found in different termite species. C. cumulans is a litter-feeding, mound-building termite considered a keystone species in natural ecosystems and also a pest in agriculture. Here, we describe the archaeal and bacterial communities within this termite, revealing for the first time its intriguing microbiota.
- 1.Holt JA, Lepage M (2000) Termites and soil properties. In: Abe T, Bignell DE, Higashi M (eds) Termites: evolution, sociality, symbioses, ecology. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 389–407Google Scholar
- 17.Breznak JA (2000) Ecology of prokaryotic microbes in the guts of woodland litter-feeding termites. In: Abe T, Higashi M, Bignell D (eds) Termites: evolution, sociality, symbiosis, ecology. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 209–232Google Scholar
- 30.Brune A, Ohkuma O (2011) Role of the termite gut microbiota in symbiotic digestion. In: Bignell DE, Roisin Y, Lo N (eds) Biology of termites: a modern synthesis. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 439–475Google Scholar