Cellulose degrading bacteria in termites are important plant degraders as they play an essential role in digesting cellulose for termites. This study aimed to identify cellulose degrading bacteria in termites (Macrotermites michaelseni) collected from Kakamega and Kapsabet region. Six termites were aseptically crushed in an Eppendorf tube containing distilled water. To distinguish cellulose degrading bacteria from non-cellulose degrading isolates, the homogenates were inoculated on nutrient agar and carboxymethyl cellulose media. As a result, 14 isolates from Kakamega termites and 3 isolates from Kapsabet showed cellulolytic activity on carboxymethyl cellulose media based on the existence of a clear zone around their colony out of 24 obtained from both termites. The highest cellulolytic index obtained was 5.8, while the lowest cellulolytic index obtained was 1.5. These findings suggest that termites harbor cellulose-degrading bacteria that can be used in cellulose degradation.
Key words: Cellulose, cellulose degrading bacteria, termites, Macrotermes.
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