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    Author(s): Hongjie Li; Daniel J. Yelle; John Ralph; Cameron R. Currie; Jianchu Mo
    Date: 2018
    Source: In: Proceedings, polyphenols communication, the XXIXth international conference on polyphenols. 2 p.
    Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
    Station: Forest Products Laboratory
    PDF: Download Publication  (496.0 KB)


    Lignin is a heterogenous plant cell wall polyphenol derived primarily from hydroxycinnamyl alcohols via combinatorial radical coupling reactions containing ether- and C-C linkages [2]. Its depolymerization is challenging, making lignin a major barrier to gaining access to stored energy within lignocellulosic materials [3]. Termites from the sub family Macrotermitinae form a monophyletic group of species that have cultivated fungi (Termitomyces spp.) using wood materials and are able to decompose lignocellulose almost completely [4]. Fungus-cultivating termites have evolved in mutualistic association with multiple microbial symbionts, not only with lignocellulose-digesting basidiomycetes fungi, but also with gut microbiota associated with their fungus comb [5]. The way Macrotermitinae termites and symbiotic microbiota circumvent the lignin barrier and cleave polysaccharides into easily digestible sugars remains a mystery [5]. In this study, we examined the degradation mechanisms of wood lignin and polysaccharides through each stage of the plant substrate flow using a laboratory rearing colony of Odontotermes formosanus [6].

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    Li, Hongjie; Yelle, Daniel J.; Ralph, John; Currie, Cameron R.; Mo, Jianchu. 2018. Characterizing lignin in a fungus-cultivating termite. In: Proceedings, polyphenols communication, the XXIXth international conference on polyphenols. 2 p.


    Lignin, symbiosis, age polyethism, carbohydrate, NMR

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