Transformation of plant organic matter under the influence of the termite macrotermes muelleri sjostedt and its symbiotic fungus
Garnier Sillam, E.; Toutain, F.; Villemin, G.; Renoux, J.
Canadian Journal of Microbiology 34(11): 1247-1255
ISSN/ISBN: 0008-4166 Accession: 007961547
The fungus Termitomyces sp., an exosymbiont of the termite Macrotermes muelleri, can perforate the pectin.sbd.cellulose walls of the vegetative cells present in the fungal comb in such a way as to get near the dark pigments (polyphenol proteins). This fungus, through cellulolytic, pectinolytic, and perhaps ligninolytic activities, extensively degraded these brown substances. Subsequently bacterial and enzymatic degradation of the different plant materials continued in the digestive tract of the termite and its endosymbionts. The faeces deposited in the nest and on the ground were essentially composed of organic granules and organo.sbd.mineral microaggregates. These microaggregates were produced during intestinal transit by the adsorption of clay particles onto the biodegraded organic matter. The weak organo.sbd.mineral bonds suggest that the organic residue will be easily mineralized.