Cellulose Metabolism by the Flagellate Trichonympha from a Termite Is Independent of Endosymbiotic Bacteria

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Science  02 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4477, pp. 58-59
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4477.58


Continuous axenic cultures were established of Trichonympha sphaerica, a cellulose-digesting symbiotic protozoon in the gut of a termite. The cultured flagellates harbored no endosymbiotic bacteria and metabolized cellulose to acetate, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. Thus, the cellulolytic activity of this flagellate is an inherent property and is not dependent on endosymbiotic bacteria.