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    Lower termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) are considered severe pests of wood in service, crops and plantation forests. Termites mechanically remove and digest lignocellulosic material as a food source. The ability to digest lignocellulose not only depends on their digestive physiology, but also on the symbiotic relationship between termites and their intestinal microbiota. The current study was designed to test the possible effects of four heartwood extractives (Tectona grandis, Dalbergia sissoo, Cedrus deodara and Pinus roxburghii) on the mortality, feeding rate and protozoan population in two lower termites, Reticulitermes flavpipes and Heterotermes indicola. All wood extractives tested rapidly lowered protozoan numbers in the hindgut of termite workers, which was closely correlated with worker mortality. The average population of protozoans in both termite species, was diminished in a dose-dependent manner after fifteen days feeding on treated filter paper. Mortality of termites increased when fed on filter paper treated with T. grandis or D. sissoo heartwood extractives with minimum feeding rate at the maximum concentration (10 mg ml-1). Protozoan number and termite survival was also compared with starved termites and results showed that protozoan populations were reduced up to 99.60 and 65.71% in R. flavpipes and H indicola, respectively as compared to untreated filter paper controls with ≅ 80% survival for both termite species. Characterizations of heartwood extractives were performed using Gas Chromotography-Mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and chemical profiles were obtained for extractives from each wood species. The largest chemical components, based on percentage of sample, identified from T. grandis were Squalene, 2-methyl-9, 10-Anthracenedione and 1-Methyl-3,4-dihydroisoquinoline. Trismethoxyresveratrol, 1, 3-Diamino-8-n-butyl-5, 6 diydrobenzoquinazoline and 6, 8-dimethyl-Benzanthracene were the largest components from D. sissoo. The largest percentage components of C. deodara were (E) – Atlantone, Di-epi-alpha-cedrene and alpha-Cuprenene. The main components of P. roxburghii were identified as 1, 2, 3, 4-tetrahydro-5, 8-dimethyl-Acridin-9-amine, 2, 3-dihydro-5, 7-dihydroxy-2phenyl-4H-1-Benzopyran-4-one and 5-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-phenyl4H-1-Benzopyran-4-one. These are discussed in terms of their termiticidal and protozoicidal properties.

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    Hassan, Babar; Mankowski, Mark E.; Kirker, Grant; Ahmed, Sohail. 2017. Effects of heartwood extractives on symbiotic protozoan communities and mortality in two termite species. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation. 123: 27-36.


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    Subterranean termites, R. flavpipes, H. indicola, heartwood extractives, gut protozoa

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