The lignocellulosic digestive symbiosis in termites is a dynamic survival adaptation system.While the contribution of hereditary and habitat factors to the development of the symbiotic bacterial community of termites had been confirmed, the manner in which these factors affect functional synergism among different bacterial lineages has still not been fully elucidated. Therefore, the 16S rRNA gene libraries of Odontotermes formosanus Shiraki (Blattodea: Termitidae) and Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae) sampled from sugarcane fields (high sugar) or pine tree forests (no free sugar) were sequenced. The results verify that the prokaryotic community structures of termites could be significantly reshaped by native dietary isolation within a species. Although the most dominant phyla are convergent in all samples, their relative abundances in these two termite species exhibited a reverse variation pattern when the termite hosts were fed on the high-sugar diet. Furthermore, we showed that the taxonomic composition of the dominant phyla at the family or genus level differentiate depending on the diet and the host phylogeny. We hypothesize that the flexible bacterial assemblages at low taxonomic level might exert variable functional collaboration to accommodate to high-sugar diet. In addition, the functional predictions of Tax4Fun suggest a stable metabolic functional structure of the microbial communities of the termites in both different diet habitats and taxonomy. We propose that the symbiotic bacterial community in different host termites developed a different functional synergistic pattern, which may be essential to maintain the stability of the overall metabolic function for the survival of termites.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1