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Symbiotic Plant Biomass Decomposition in Fungus-Growing Termites

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftReview

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Termites are among the most successful animal groups, accomplishing nutrient acquisition through long-term associations and enzyme provisioning from microbial symbionts. Fungus farming has evolved only once in a single termite sub-family: Macrotermitinae. This sub-family has become a dominant decomposer in the Old World; through enzymatic contributions from insects, fungi, and bacteria, managed in an intricate decomposition pathway, the termites obtain near-complete utilisation of essentially any plant substrate. Here we review recent insights into our understanding of the process of plant biomass decomposition in fungus-growing termites. To this end, we outline research avenues that we believe can help shed light on how evolution has shaped the optimisation of plant-biomass decomposition in this complex multipartite symbiosis.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer87
TidsskriftInsects
Vol/bind10
Udgave nummer4
Antal sider15
ISSN2075-4450
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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