SER seminar series 


Dr Andreas Brune presents ‘Termite guts: World's smallest bioreactors’, on Friday 5 September from 1pm-2pm.

Termite guts are minute but complex bioreactors, where lignocellulose is digested with the aid of prokaryotic and sometimes also eukaryotic symbionts. Dr Brune’s group studies the microbial communities in the intestinal tract and their role in digestion, including the intriguing symbioses between termite gut flagellates and their unique ectobionts and endobionts.

Another aspect of their work concerns the transformation and mineralization of organic matter by soil-feeding termites.

The nutritional basis of this group of insects has been largely unclear. We could show that the digestion of peptidic soil components in their extremely alkaline guts leads to an efficient mineralization of nitrogen during gut passage. This has important implications for the role of termites in N cycling in tropical soils.

Dr Brune is from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany.

This seminar takes place in room 22, Blue 1.