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Research progress of nitrogen fixation of symbiotic bacteria in termites*(PDF)

Chinese Journal of Applied & Environmental Biology[ISSN:1006-687X/CN:51-1482/Q]

2016 02
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Research progress of nitrogen fixation of symbiotic bacteria in termites*
WANG Yazhao1 JI Baozhong1** LIU Shuwen2** & DING Fang1
1Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China; College of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China2The Administration Bureau of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, Nanjing 210014, China
termite nitrogen fixation symbiotic bacteria nif H gene associative nitrogen fixation hindgut intestinal facultativeanaerobic

Termites are oligonitrotrophs and usually thrive on a nitrogen-poor diet. Therefore, nitrogen fixation of symbioticbacteria in the digestive tract is essential for the survival of termites. This paper reviews the research progress of the nitrogenfixation of symbiotic bacteria in termites in terms of the assay of nitrogen-fixing activity and the species identification ofsymbiotic bacteria, the screening of nif H genes, the impact factors of the nitrogen-fixing activity, and the relationship betweentermites and nitrogen-fixing bacteria. The nif H gene is highly conserved and used to analyze the diversity of nitrogenfixingbacteria. In termites, the sequence of nif H gene is of high similarity among the same genera individuals, but withdifferentiations on the family level. The phylogenetic diversity of nif H gene is influenced by the living type of termites andtheir phylogenetic status. Furthermore, it is related with the symbiotic protozoan fauna in the digestive tract. In general, thelower termites have stronger nitrogen fixation ability than the higher ones. Even in the same species, significant difference ofnitrogen fixation ability exists among different individual castes. The differences may relate with food variety and nitrogenfixingactivity. There is significant complementation and approximate negative correlation between the nitrogen content of foodand the nitrogenase activity. The hindgut intestinal sac is shown to be the main site of nitrogen fixation, and most nitrogenfixingbacteria species are facultative anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria cooperate with their hosts to fulfil nitrogen fixation.The carbon and nitrogen metabolism theory based on the synergistic reaction between symbiotic protozoan and nitrogenfixingbacteria may throw light on the relationship between symbiotic protozoan fauna and the nitrogen-fixing activity ofsymbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. The study of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in termites can not only explain the nutritionphysiology of insects, but also provide reference for the biological nitrogen fixation of other insects. The detection of nifHgene provides a basis for the investigation of the species of nitrogen fixing bacteria and the evolution of the system, which inturn lay a foundation for the development of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in termites. Further researches should be carried out inmany respects, including the epiphytic site of nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the higher termites and the relationship between nestmaterial or food and nitrogen-fixing bacteria fauna.


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Last Update: 2016-04-25