Tag Archives: Macrotermes gilvus Hagen

Determination of the major compounds in the extract of the subterranean termite Macrotermes gilvus Hagen digestive tract by GC-MS method

N. Subekti1*, F. Fibriana2, P. Widyaningrum1, M. Adfa3

1Department of Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Semarang State University, Indonesia;
*e-mail: nikensubekti@mail.unnes.ac.id;
2Department of Integrated Sciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Semarang State University, Indonesia;
e-mail: fibriana.f@mail.unnes.ac.id;
3Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Bengkulu University, Indonesia;
e-mail: morinaadfa@yahoo.com

Degradation of woody components by termites is associated with symbionts inside their digestive tract. In this study, the major compounds were determined in the extract of the termite guts by GC-MS method. Macrotermes gilvus Hagen (worker caste) termites were collected and their dissected guts underwent methanol extraction. It was found that the gut of the termites has an alkaline environment (pH 8.83 ± 0.31) that supports the digestion of lignocellulose biomass and also helps to solubilize phenolic and recalcitrant compounds resul­ting from the depolymerization of woody components. The GC-MS analysis showed that termite guts contained hydrophobic organosilicon components including dodecamethylcyclohexasiloxane, tetradecamethylcyclohexa­siloxane, hexadecamethylcyclooctasiloxane, and octasiloxane, 1,1,3,3,5,5,7,7,9,9,11,11,13,13,15,15-hexa­decamethyl. The guts also contained a phytosterol, which was identified as β-sitosterol. Further analysis of these water-insoluble compounds is needed to reveal their importance in termite digestion.