Mutualism is a symbiotic relationship from which both organisms derive benefit. Some of the How then do termites manage to survive on a diet of wood? Well. Without these microbial symbionts, termites would be unable to digest wood. When both species benefit, the relationship is called mutualism. B. Microbes can . The symbiotic relationship of termites and their eukaryotic and Because of the genetic plasticity of bacteria, traditional species definitions do not apply Heterotrophic bacteria present in hindguts of wood-eating termites.
Symbiotic bacterium in termite gut pinned down
This interaction has enabled coral reefs to be among the most productive of Earth's ecosystems. These ecosystems have a profound impact globally as sites of carbon dioxide absorption, energy production for larger oceanic ecosystems and as nurseries for many fish species. Most animals have a diverse microbial flora within their digestive tracts. Humans, for example, have many mutually beneficial relationships with some of our intestinal microbiota.
Symbiotic bacterium in termite gut pinned down | RIKEN
For instance, several species of Bacterioides and Escherichia are our principle source of vitamin K which is an essential factor involved in blood clotting. Other species have been shown to be important sources of some B vitamins, and recently one species of Bacterioides has been determined to be an essential component in the development of blood vessels of the small intestine. Among all of the species known to science, none seem to stretch the boundaries of mutualism to the extent of that exhibited by the termites.
Termite bodies are literally crammed full of various symbiotic organisms which are, in many cases, crammed full themselves with their own microbiota.
To observe this firsthand, try this activity. Within the digestive tract of these termites is a diverse microbial world that has evolved along with the termites' ecologic role in the environment.
Termites, like most animals, lack the enzymes necessary to break down the principle components of plant tissues: How then do termites manage to survive on a diet of wood? Well, actually they don't, at least not directly.
Termites are important decomposers of wood. The termite's cells use these acids as nourishment, just like our cells do. The microbes in our guts break down our food into these same acids to feed our tissues.
The termite's microbes also produce gasses during this breakdown process. Methane gas is a major product and termites are a large source of methane in our atmosphere. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Symbiosis of Termites and the Microbes in their Gut: Digestion of Lignocellulose - microbewiki
No one microbe in the termite gut can do the job. A whole community of microorganisms is necessary. These microbes belong to three groups, bacteriaarchaea and protozoans.
Organisms that live with one another for long periods of time are said to live in symbiosis. The symbioses in the termite gut are often beneficial to both partners and so are called a mutualistic relationship. Sometimes neither partner can live without the other, so the relationship is called an obligate symbiosis. The protozoans and the bacteria and archeae that live insided them often depend upon one another and cannot live without each other, so they are an example of an obligate symbiosis.
The bacteria and archaea that live inside their partner are also called endosymbionts"endo-" meaning "within.
Bacteria and archaea are about a ten times smaller and appear as small specks in these photos. None of these organisms have a color and are largely transparent. To photograph them without using dyes to stain them which would kill them we used a special kind of microscope that uses Nomarski optics to distinguish the microbes from the surrounding water.
Symbiosis of Termites and the Microbes in their Gut: Digestion of Lignocellulose
This gives three-dimensional images of the microbes. Photos courtesy of Dan Gage The protozoans come in a variety of shapes and move around rapidly.
These are their flagella that they use to move.