A Comparative Study of Gut Enzymes and Nest Materials of Three Mound Building Termites of Eastern India
Termites are found to digest a wide variety of lignocellulosic biomass including wood with high lignin content by the aid of unique cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic microorganisms. A research gap is realized in works associated with termite gut enzyme activities in India. Therefore, the present work is focused on the comparison of termite gut enzyme activities among epigeous, subterranean, arboreal termites and the physicochemical properties of respective mound soils collected from Sambalpur University Campus, Odisha, India. The mound building termites (subterranean and epigeous) showed significantly more cellulase, xylanase and phosphatase enzyme activities than the arboreal termites. The enzyme activities showed efficient correlation with organic carbon, total nitrogen, available potassium and water holding capacity of respective mound materials. This particular study has provided new information regarding the contribution of three distinct termite species towards soil fertility status. Further, a high quantity of nutrients accumulated in subterranean termite mound soils along with high enzyme activities by subterranean species, O obesus in our study, can be considered a hotspot for microbial concentration, which can be exploited for biofuel production, and mound soil as soil amendment, bioremediation and bio-filtration purpose.
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