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Biotechnology: A Tool in Termite Management



Termites are the silent invaders, which affect life and property. Being regarded as one of the important agricultural and urban pests, they are of national and international concern to scientists and farmers in particular and to masses in general. It is being estimated that the annual cost of termite damage to the buildings in USA is greater than that of combined cost of fires, storms, and floods, as such hinting an urgent need for termite management. Control strategies have shifted focus on biotechnological approaches for all-inclusive termite management. Biotechnology, globally recognized as a rapidly emerging and far-reaching field, is the “technology of hope” for its promising role in food, health, and environmental sustainability. Latest and enduring advances in life sciences offer a promising scenario, with a large number of agri- and industrial biotech products that have enormously helped mankind. Biotechnology is necessary to sustain an agriculture competitive and remunerative and to achieve nutrition security in the face of major present challenges. Investment in agricultural-related biotechnology has resulted in significantly enhanced research and development capability and institutional building over the years. However, progress has been rather slow in converting the research leads into usable product. In this chapter, therefore, we examine the potential of biotechnology as a tool in termite management.
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... Therefore, intense insight about these juvenoids and their action mechanism at gene level as endocrinological level will pave the advance way to develop novel strategies to hinder the life cycle of insect pests. Later, when we will be able to clone the DNA stretches which encode for the receptors that are involved in JH biosynthesis process, they can be used for in vitro assay for JH as it will alleviate the juvenoid exploration process (Ahmad et al. 2018). ...
Pest management is one of the major growing concerns worldwide. Moreover, these insects are important for natural ecosystem as they perform various functions such as organic matter decomposition and facilitating food for birds, fishes, and reptiles. Juvenoids, the chemical compound which mimics the juvenile hormones and inhibits the metamorphosis process, have gained significant attention among researchers. From the past few decades, intensive research has been done on biochemical and physiological effects of juvenile hormones and their chemical analogs in which they regulate reproduction and metamorphosis of pests. Juvenile hormones are the derivatives of fatty acid which are produced by neurosecretory cells. These juvenoid hormones conserve natural fauna and flora and minimize the chemical pesticide usage. Currently, numerous artificial juvenoids are commercially available and more effective than traditional juvenoids. These artificial juvenoids possess less toxicity and show no teratogenic or mutagenic effects. The juvenoids have inhibition effect on insect morphogenesis as individual specific cells may show an inflexible response and only few cells show sensitivity to juvenoids at a particular time. This makes juvenoid usage advantageous over traditional insecticides and a valuable chemical in crop management. In this chapter, we have discussed its various classes, chemistry, mode of action, and application in crop management systems.
... Though bacteria found in termite mound soils contribute to ecological services, there is scarcity of information on the possibility of using them as biotechnological products. Generally, biotechnology is seen as a fast emerging and influential field of technology for its useful role in health, food, and environmental sustainability [29]. Therefore, this review summarizes the variety of bacteria in termite mound soils and their possible contributions to lignocellulose degradation, biofuel production, bioremediation, and bio-filtration, as well as their potential to be a soil amendment. ...
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The high quantity of nutrients accumulated in termite mound soils have placed termite mound as a ‘gold mine’ for bacteria concentrations. However, over the years, not much attention has been given to the bacteria present in termite mound soil. This is because many studies have focused on approaches to manage termites which they see as menace to agricultural crops and buildings. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the potential application of termite mound soil material and its bacteria for biotechnological purposes. This review has been grouped into four key parts: The termite mound as hotspot for bacterial concentration, the degradation of lignocellulose for biofuel production, termite mound soil as a soil amendment, and the role of termite mound soil and its bacteria in bioremediation and bio-filtration. Therefore, the effective usage of the termite mound soil material and its bacteria in an ecofriendly manner could ensure environmental sustainability.
In termite-affected soils, bacteria and actinomycetes are most abundant during the wet season. The highest density of bacteria recorded was 10⁶ and, of actinomycetes, 10⁵/g dry soil. Fungi, which dominate only during dry periods, numbered 10⁴ and declined to 10² cells/g dry soil during the wet period. Fungi, actinomycetes, bacteria and Protozoa were higher in 'dead' than in 'live' mounds. Counts of denitrifiers, ammonifiers, cellulose decomposers, nitrifiers and Protozoa were approx 10³/g dry soil. Evolution of CO2 was also related to microbial activities. -from Authors
Surveys were undertaken in a mulga Acacia aneura semi-arid woodland in NW New South Wales to determine whether there was any significant spatial patterning of both harvester termite (eg Drepanotermes perniger) pavements and soil hummocks formed primarily by xylophagous termites ((eg Amitermes spp.) feeding in fallen mulga logs. The estimated total number of harvester termite pavements on the 200-ha study site was 11 559 with evidence of slight regularity in the small-scale spatial pattern. Density of harvester termite pavements nests ranged from 30-100 pavements ha-1 with the lowest density being associated with mulga groves which are major sinks for rainwater run-off following episodic rainfall events. The estimated number of log-hummocks formed by xylophagous termites was 27 468 with aggregation indicated in the small-scale spatial pattern. The frequency distributions of log-hummock classes were similar in ecotonal and mulga grove habitats, with a somewhat different distribution in the intergrove habitat where soil hummock development was most pronounced. -from Authors
Crop and/or stomach contents of 65 bird and 19 mammal species contain harvester termite. One group of predators consumed this termite throughout the year, another primarily in the autumn and winter and a third group in the spring and early summer. Workers were present in far greater numbers than soldiers, which were seldom found. Alates were found primarily in animals examined in October. This termite constituted a significant proportion of the diet of some species. -from Authors