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Termites May One Day Save Your Life

termite-controlTermites are notoriously hard to control. In fact, no one has really come close to developing sustainable control techniques. They are incredibly persistent and, at times, seemingly indestructible. Of course, at Blue Ridge Termite we know that’s not the case, but a termite’s resistance mechanisms are very impressive, especially when it comes to infection in the colony.

Thomas Chouvenc, postdoctoral advocate at the Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center at the University of Florida, and Nan-Yao Su, professor of entomology, have studied termites for a number of years, focusing specifically on why termites can persevere through infection and in the event that it is introduced to the colony, infection doesn’t spread. Whatever termites are doing, they’re doing it right and guess what – it’s because of their poop!

In the article, “Termite poop might be key to new antibiotics,” Kaitlyn Wilson of Alligator.org writes, “Because termites live in the soil, waste has to remain in the nest system. Termites need a lot of wood to feed an entire colony, so they produce a lot of clean, liquid, powder-like feces that promotes the growth of beneficial microbes.”

Termite poop is special, imbued almost with magical antibiotic power. Since the poop is used to build their nests, the nests are also imbued with magical antibiotic power, which curtails infection’s flow and is a virtual shield against any sort of sickness. They are experts at poopitecture. Hmm…good job termites, you crafty wood-eating immunity giants, humanity is jealous of your magical antibiotic poop.

Now that researchers know the trick to a termite’s disease defense, they can work on studying the weaknesses. More important than that, however, is the fact that the termite poop possesses beneficial bacteria that may be able to create antibiotics used for humans. Perhaps termite poop will help us one day fight disease. What do you think?

Source: http://www.alligator.org/news/local/article_34867fee-299b-11e3-b45d-001a4bcf887a.html