Indian Journal of Science and Technology
Year: 2008, Volume: 1, Issue: 4, Pages: 1-8
R. Kumaresan, T. K. Sankaranarayanan and S. S. Madhavendra*
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh-500 007, India
*Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh-500 007, India
*Author for the correspondence:
S. S. Madhavendra
Indian Institute of Chemical Technology,
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh-500 007, India
E-mail: [email protected]
Although a considerable amount of information is available on termite caste differentiation, much less is known about metabolic influx and energy investment among castes, those would presumably play a pivotal role in termite physiology. In this study, nutritional metabolites among the major castes of Macrotermes were compared and the data illustrated that the worker caste holds considerable amount of energy, whereas the soldier caste enjoys huge reserves. Reproductive alates also showed higher metabolic turn over but we have concluded that energy allocation to reproduction is secondary and the energy investment in colony defense seems primary. Higher levels of glucose, cholesterol, creatinine, and fatty acids were observed in soldier caste, suggesting colony defense is an energydemanding phenomenon. Since Uric acid formation without xanthine oxidase (XO) is unlikely, exogenous uric acid source from other nest mates may be possible, because negligible XO activity and considerable amount of uric acid content is observed in soldier caste. Observed uric acid content and xanthine oxidase activity both were descending in the order of female, male, worker, and soldier castes. Alates have huge reserves of ATP, triglyceride, fatty acids, and uric acid. Maximum fatty acids reserve was observed in male alates and predominant gross fatty acids measured by GC-MS were stearic and oleic.
Key words: Colony defense, energy investment, fatty acids, Macrotermes castes, xanthine oxidase, uric acid.
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