Wood-feeding termites have microbial communities in their guts that are capable of converting cellulose and hemicellulose into sugars, hydrogen and methane. They can break down as much as a billion tons of raw plant biomass annually, and are of interest to bioenergy researchers hoping to harness these abilities for commercial biofuel production. To better understand the interactions and roles within the gut microbial community, the project focuses on sequencing a Termite Associated Verrucomicrobium (TAV) bacterial strain of Verrucomicrobium known as TAV2.
Members of the Verrucomicrobia phylum are found in a number of environments both in water and in soils. As members of the soil microbial community, they are involved in the global carbon cycle. They have also been identified in toluene-degrading filters, suggesting that these bacteria may have potential bioremediation applications. The genomic data would assist researchers in understanding how these bacteria are involved in breaking down plant biomass, and to develop potential applications based on this information.
Principal Investigators: Jorge Rodrigues, University of Texas at Arlington
Program: CSP 2010