Evaluation of the effect of zwitterionic buffers on termite gut protists

IRG/WP 18-10933

S Duarte, D Jones, L Nunes

The thermal modification of wood is recognized as the most commercialized wood modification process. The treatment of wood at temperatures usually greater than 180 ÂșC results in a product with some properties enhanced (dimensional stability, durability, aesthetical colour) and some diminished (mechanical properties). The loss of mechanical strength is recognized as a limitation to the use of thermally modified wood in certain products. The mechanical strength reduction is linked in varying degrees to the release of acidic volatile species, the acid-catalysed depolymerisation of the hemicelluloses present and the plasticization and redistribution of the lignin components present. Buffers, although been designed not to influence the reaction systems, may have some interactions when exposed to some conditions, potentially acting as promoters of biological changes on different systems. In this study, two zwitterionic buffers, bicine and tricine, were chosen to be tested regarding their volatilization reduction properties, as well as tricine due to offering the potential of forming Maillard-type products with fragmented hemicelluloses/volatiles. In order to determine if there were any resultant effects of the bicine and tricine treatments submitted or not to thermal modification, the efficacy against subterranean termites was conducted as well as an evaluation of the effect of the different combinations of treatments on the termite gut symbiotic protists. The durability of thermal modified wood is recognized as low and the results of the present work are in accordance with that perception. However, bicine and tricine treatments alone had a clear influence on the survival of the termites and the study of the protist symbionts (9 morphotypes) gave a better insight of the ability of termites to react to unfavorable diet changes.

Keywords: bicine, tricine, subterranean termites, gut symbiotic protists

Conference: 18-04-29/05-03 Johannesburg, South Africa

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