Termite stomach acid to aid biofuel

A study into the role of gut bacteria in termite stomachs has given surprising, but hopeful, results. Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Florida have discovered a possible method for improving biofuel production.

The team was investigating whether or not diet affected the bacteria that inhabit a termite stomach: it doesn’t. What they found was that certain termite genes change as a result of dietary intake, prompting a look at which enzymes affect plant breakdown.

About 500 genes changed expression when termites were fed woody diets. By focusing on these, scientists could use particular enzymes to extract the sugars from tough biomass, making biofuel production infinitely easier.

Read more at Purdue University