Isolation and Characterization of Anaerobic Bacteria for Symbiotic Recycling of Uric Acid Nitrogen in the Gut of Various Termites

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Recycling of the nitrogenous waste uric acid (UA) of wood-feeding termites by their gut bacteria is one of the significant aspects of symbiosis for the conservation of nitrogen sources. Diverse anaerobic UA-degrading bacteria comprising 16 species were isolated from the gut of eight termite species, and were assigned to <i>Clostridia</i>, <i>Enterobacteriaceae</i>, and low G+C Gram-positive cocci. UA-degrading <i>Clostridia</i> had never been isolated from termite guts. UA-degrading ability was sporadically distributed among phylogenetically various culturable anaerobic bacteria from termite guts. A strain of <i>Clostridium</i> sp., which was commonly isolated from three termite species and represented a probable new species in cluster XIVa of clostridia, utilized UA as a nitrogen source but not as a sole carbon and energy source. This feature is in clear contrast to that of well-studied purinolytic clostridia or previously isolated UA degraders from termite guts, which also utilize UA as a sole carbon and energy source. Ammonia is the major nitrogenous product of UA degradation. Various purines stimulated the growth of this strain when added to an otherwise growth-limiting, nitrogen poor medium. The bacterial species involved the recycling of UA nitrogen in the gut microbial community of termites are more diverse in terms of both taxonomy and nutritional physiology than previously recognized.<br>


  • Microbes and Environments

    Microbes and Environments 27(2), 186-192, 2012-06-01

    Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology · The Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology

References:  63

Cited by:  1


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