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Termites are associated with external species-specific bacterial communities
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  • Patrik Soukup,
  • Tomas Vetrovsky,
  • Petr Stiblik,
  • Katerina Votypkova,
  • Amrita Chakraborty,
  • David Sillam-Dusses,
  • Miroslav Kolarik,
  • Iñaki Odriozola,
  • Nathan Lo,
  • Petr Baldrian,
  • Jan Sobotnik,
  • Thomas Bourguignon
Patrik Soukup
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
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Tomas Vetrovsky
Institute of Microbiology Czech Academy of Sciences Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology
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Petr Stiblik
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
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Katerina Votypkova
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
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Amrita Chakraborty
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
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David Sillam-Dusses
Sorbonne North Paris University
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Miroslav Kolarik
Institute of Microbiology Czech Academy of Sciences Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology
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Iñaki Odriozola
Institute of Microbiology Czech Academy of Sciences
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Petr Baldrian
Institute of Microbiology ASCR
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Jan Sobotnik
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague
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Thomas Bourguignon
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
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Abstract

All termites have established a wide range of associations with symbiotic microbes in their guts. Some termite species are also associated with microbes that grow in their nests, but the prevalence of these associations remains largely unknown. Here, we studied the bacterial communities associated with the termites and galleries of three wood-feeding termite species using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. We found that the composition of bacterial communities differs among termite bodies, termite galleries, and control wood fragments devoid of termite activities, in a species-specific manner. Termite galleries were enriched in bacterial OTUs belonging to Rhizobiales and Actinobacteria, which were often shared by several termite species. The abundance of several bacterial OTUs, generally belonging to genera known to include animal pathogens, was depleted in termite galleries. Our results demonstrate that termites not only harbour unique bacterial communities inside their guts, but also shape the communities colonizing their nests and galleries.