What is the role of symbiosis in cellulose digestion?

1 Answer
Jan 15, 2018

Termites also known as wood ants eat wood to meet their nutritional demand. Wood contain #40-50%# cellulose. Most of the multicellular organisms can't digests cellulose by their own. Termites also can't do this by their own.

So as there is solution to every query just like that there is also a solution to termite's problem: Termites have special guests i.e certain endosymbiont microbes or bacteria & protozoans. These tiny unicellular organisms reside in hind gut of termite and secrete an enzyme called #bbcolor(purple)"cellulase"# . This enzyme is capable to hydrolyze the #beta#-linkages of cellulose and form short chain fatty acids. Thus endosymbiont bacteria and protozoans help termite to fulfill its nutrition requirement and also make them quite immune to pathogen attack.

In return, termite provide its gut symbionts with protection and food i.e cellulose . These protozoans would die outside the termite and termite also can't survive without them. As both the partners are benefited so this is an example of symbiosis or symbiotic relationship.


Hope it helps...