Isolation and characterization of filter paper degrading bacteria from the guts of Coptotermes formosanus


  • Tochukwu Frank Egwuatu Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Akoka 100213, Nigeria
  • Osita Gabriel Appeh Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, P.M.B. 7267. Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria


Biodegradation, Chromatography, Termite gut, Cloudy, Cellulose


The filter paper utilizing capabilities of Pseudomonas mendocina, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Chryseobacterium luteola, Klebsiella oxytoca and Klebsiella terrigena isolated from the gut of a local termite Coptotermes formosanus were analysed. The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize cellulolytic microbes from the guts of Coptotermes formosanus. The isolates were inoculated into a buffered medium containing minerals and Whatman filter paper as sole source of carbon to observe the ability of these bacteria to digest solid substrate. The ability of the isolates to grow in this medium as well as to digest the filter paper was determined by visual
observation after 30 days. Reducing sugar test and gravimetric analysis were also carried out at the end of 30 days. All bacteria cultures showed growth as the medium turned cloudy and the filter paper became macerated. The gravimetric analysis of the residual filter in the liquid medium at the end of 30 days incubation showed that Chryseobacterium luteola had the highest degradation rate of 95%, Pseudomonas mendocina had the degradation rate of 90%, whilst Burkholderia pseudomallei, Klebsiella oxytoca and Klebsiella terrigena had biodegradation rate of 75% each. Reducing sugar test and paper chromatography carried out for glucose production were positive showing their ability to convert cellulose to glucose. The bacterial isolates showed a potential to convert cellulose
into reducing sugars which could be readily used in many applications like feed stock for production of valuable organic compounds; for example in simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of cellulose into ethanol.


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How to Cite

Egwuatu, T. F. ., & Appeh, O. G. . (2022). Isolation and characterization of filter paper degrading bacteria from the guts of Coptotermes formosanus. Suan Sunandha Science and Technology Journal, 5(2), 20–26. Retrieved from



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