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Article

A Study of the Gut Bacterial Community of Reticulitermes virginicus Exposed to Chitosan Treatment

1
Department of Sustainable Bioproducts, Mississippi State University, 201 Locksley Way, Starkville, MS 39759, USA
2
Forest Products Laboratory, USDA Forest Service, 201 Lincoln Green, Starkville, MS 39759, USA
3
Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Science, University of Toronto, 200 College Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3E5, Canada
4
Institute of Food and Agriculture Science, University of Florida, 8400 Picos Road, Ste. 101, Fort Pierce, FL 34945, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(10), 681; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100681
Received: 26 August 2020 / Revised: 28 September 2020 / Accepted: 5 October 2020 / Published: 8 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pest Management of Termites)
Termite digestion of lignocellulosic materials is aided by their gut microbial community, which includes protists, bacteria, and archaea. They play important roles in termite growth and environmental adaptation. Dark southern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes virginicus) are native to North America and significantly damage wooden structures. Because of their considerable economic impact, a more thorough understanding of the relationship between host termite and microbial community is needed to develop target-specific and environmentally benign wood protection systems. The overall aim of this study was to investigate the potential influence of chitosan, a biodegradable and antimicrobial compound, on termite gut bacteria. A significant effect of chitosan treatment was observed in the relative abundance of two bacteria phyla (Firmicutes and Actinobacteria). The results suggest that chitosan treatment not only affects the structure of the microbial community in the gut, but other treatments also cause shifts in termite gut communities.
A thorough understanding of microbial communities in the gut of lower termites is needed to develop target-specific and environmentally benign wood protection systems. In this study, the bacterial community from Reticulitermes virginicus was examined by Illumina sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) spanning the V3 and V4 regions. Prior to library preparation, the termites were subjected to five treatments over an 18-day period: three groups were fed on wood treated with 0.5% chitosan, 25% acetic acid, or water, the fourth group was taken directly from the original collection log, and the fifth group was starved. Metagenomic sequences were analyzed using QIIME 2 to understand the treatments’ effects on the dynamics of the gut bacteria. Four dominant phyla were detected: Bacteroidetes (34.4% of reads), Firmicutes (20.6%), Elusimicrobia (15.7%), and Proteobacteria (12.9%). A significant effect of chitosan treatment was observed in two phyla; Firmicutes abundance was significantly lower with chitosan treatment when compared to other groups, while Actinobacteria was lower in unexposed and starved termites. The results suggest that chitosan treatment not only affects the structure of the microbial community in the gut, but other treatments such as starving also cause shifts in termite gut communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: chitosan; Reticulitermes virginicus; gut bacteria; 16S rRNA; Illumina amplicon sequencing; metagenomics chitosan; Reticulitermes virginicus; gut bacteria; 16S rRNA; Illumina amplicon sequencing; metagenomics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Telmadarrehei, T.; Tang, J.D.; Raji, O.; Rezazadeh, A.; Narayanan, L.; Shmulsky, R.; Jeremic, D. A Study of the Gut Bacterial Community of Reticulitermes virginicus Exposed to Chitosan Treatment. Insects 2020, 11, 681. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100681

AMA Style

Telmadarrehei T, Tang JD, Raji O, Rezazadeh A, Narayanan L, Shmulsky R, Jeremic D. A Study of the Gut Bacterial Community of Reticulitermes virginicus Exposed to Chitosan Treatment. Insects. 2020; 11(10):681. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100681

Chicago/Turabian Style

Telmadarrehei, Telmah, Juliet D. Tang, Olanrewaju Raji, Amir Rezazadeh, Lakshmi Narayanan, Rubin Shmulsky, and Dragica Jeremic. 2020. "A Study of the Gut Bacterial Community of Reticulitermes virginicus Exposed to Chitosan Treatment" Insects 11, no. 10: 681. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100681

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