Assistant Professor, Coastal Research and Extension Center
Mississippi State University
As a world smallest bioreactor, the degradation of wood by termites is very unique and highly efficient, which demonstrates combined actions of the termite and its hindgut microbial symbionts in the utilization of 74-99% of the cellulose and 65-87% of the hemicellulose, as well as 2-83% lignin of the ingested plant material. Sequencing work on termite or its symbionts’ genes associated with cellulolytic activities has already shown a promising future. In this presentation, an outlook is made for the present progress in understanding termite digestive systems and particularly how we can possibly with termites harness the pathways towards biofuel industries.