Chemical properties associated with guts, soil and nest materials of Odontotermes and Macrotermes species from Kenya

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Chemical properties associated with guts, soil and nest materials of Odontotermes and Macrotermes species from Kenya

Edith Mnyazi Muwawa, Huxley Mae Makonde, Nancy L.M.Budambula, Zipporah Lagat Osiemo, Hamadi Iddi Boga
J. Bio. Env. Sci.4( 2), 253-263, February 2014.
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Termites play important roles in carbon and nitrogen cycles thus affecting soil functioning and ecosystem activities. The study focused on analyzing levels of nitrogen, carbon and pH in the guts, soil and mound materials associated with Odontotermes and Macrotermes termites’ species. Macro- and micro-elements were also evaluated using spectrophotometer methods. The standard soil analyses and concentrations of various forms of nitrogen and carbon were performed using calometric and Bremmer’s methods. Results showed higher clay content in the mounds than the surrounding soil. Most concentrations of ammonia, nitrate and total organic carbon between the termites and within the gut sections were significantly different (p < 0.05). Levels of ammonia (3.00 – 6.00 ppm) and nitrate (6.00 – 11.50 ppm) were highest in the hindguts of all termites analyzed than the respective foreguts and midguts sections. Ammonia (6.00 – 14.50 ppm), nitrate (16.00 – 83.00 ppm) and organic carbon (31.00 – 37.00 %) levels were highest in the fungus comb samples. The levels of all macro-and micro-elements investigated were highest in the fungus combs. It can be concluded that fungus-growing termites accumulate different levels of nitrogenous compounds in their guts and modify soil properties in terms of clay, C, N and mineral contents.


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