1) Describe the microbial participants found within lower termite hindguts and their metabolic roles. -The hind gut of the termites contains flagellate protozoa, bacteria, and spirochetes that participate in its metabolic activity. These microbes participate actively in the breaking down of the wood particles taken in by the termite. These processes include that hydrolysis of cellulose in the gut and hemicellulose. They also participate in the fermentation process of the products of hydrolysis and the nitrogen cycles that take place in the gut.
2) Describe three spirochete strains Lead better isolated and characterized from termite hindguts. Focus on metabolic insights gleaned from genome and physiology studies.
There are two strains of spirochetes in the gut of termites, Treponema primitia ZAS-1 and ZAS-2. Both enzymes are able to grow in the presence of oxygen and carbon dioxide. They produce enzymes that facilitate in homoacetogenesis. These strains can grow on hydrogen, carbon dioxide. They utilize monosaccharide, and disaccharides to make energy. Another spirochete strain SPN-1 has also been identified. This strain is anaerobic and can ferment monosaccharaides, disaccharides, and oligosaccharides. These strains grow optimally at 30 degrees.
3) What are the two types of hydrogenase found within termite spirochetes?
These are CO dehydrogenase, and formate dehydrogenase.
4) What are the putative roles of each of these types of hydrogenases?
CO dehydrogenase: this enzyme is responsible for CO2-reductive process in acetogenesis during the Wood pathway.
Formate dehydrogenase: this enzyme is responsible for the change of formate to a methyl group in the Wood pathway