Termite gut microbes can help turn toxic wood into biofuels

2 months ago 18
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By James Urquhart

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Formosan-termit “Coptotermes formosanus” invasive termite, nicknamed the super-termite because of its destructive habits; Shutterstock ID 1078415000; purchase_order: PHOTO; job: 22 June 2021 Online; client: NS; other:

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Termites are renowned for devouring wood. Now, bacteria in one termite species’ guts have been shown to break down toxic creosote, which is used to preserve wood. The finding could be useful for turning harmful chemically treated wood waste into biofuels.

Termites’ guts are tiny bioreactors teeming with microbes that allow the insects to digest tough lignin and cellulose in wood. Previous studies suggest these gut microorganisms could be key …

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