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Name: William F.
Status: Student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2002

How do termites control the population of Trichonympha in their intestines? In other words, what is the control mechanism for keeping the population of the bacteria from growing exponentially and killing the termite?

William, I suspect they lose their fair share of microorganisms out the back door, as they defecate, so the population needs constant replenishing from cell division. Just a guess.

Paul Mahoney, PhD

Revised -- 2005
Trichonympha is not a bacteria! It is a protist. They are acquired by contact of young adult termites with adult termites. It should be pointed out that different termite species have different protazoans working the cellulose and lignin digestion.

I recall this information from a lecture in graduate school. Education is a wonderful thing!

Steve Sample

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