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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Effect of the White Rot Fungus, Phanaerochaete Chrysosporium, on the Feeding Preferences of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) for Different Wood Species

Authors
item Cornelius, Mary
item Daigle, Donald
item Williams, Kelley
item Lovisa, Mary

Submitted to: Proceedings of American Chemical Society National Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 20, 2005
Publication Date: April 20, 2005
Citation: Cornelius, M.L., Daigle, D.J., Williams, K.A., Lovisa, M.P. 2005. Effect of the white rot fungus, phanaerochaete chrysosporium, on the feeding preferences of the formosan subterranean termite (isoptera: rhinotermitidae) for different wood species pp.101-110. In R.J. Petroski, M.R. Tellez, and R. W. Behle (eds), Semiochemicals in Pest and Weed Control, ACS Symposium Series 906.

Interpretive Summary: Because wood decay fungi alter the chemical composition of the wood, these fungi could potentially affect the feeding preferences of termites for different wood species. The objective of this study was to determine if the fungus, Phanaerochaete chrysosporium, influenced the feeding preferences of the Formosan subterranean termite for the following wood species: Alaska yellow cedar, birch, red oak, and redwood. After 8 weeks of fungal decay, weight loss due to decay was significantly greater in birch and red oak than redwood and Alaska yellow cedar. Wood consumption by termites was also greater on birch and red oak than on redwood or Alaska yellow cedar after 8 weeks of fungal decay. Termite feeding behavior may have been positively affected by the rate of fungal decay. However, decay by P. chrysosporium did not appear to affect the relative feeding preference of Formosan subterranean termites for these four wood species. Information on the feeding preferences of termites can be used to improve the acceptability of bait matrices for termite control. This research will benefit both the pest control industry and the consumer by providing information that may lead to the development of more effective baits for termite control.

Technical Abstract: Lignin-degrading fungi alter the chemical composition of wood. the effects of the white rot fungus, P. chrysosporium on the feeding preferences of Formosan subterranean termites for Alaska yellow cedar, birch, red oak, and redwood were examined when blocks were decayed for 3, 8, or 12 weeks before feeding tests were conducted. There were significant differences in the weight loss of blocks of different wood species due to decay by the white rot fungus, P. chrysosporium. Alaska yellow cedar was completely resistant to colonization by P. chrysosporium. After 8 weeks of fungal decay, there was no difference in the weight loss due to decay in birch and red oak, but weight loss in redwood was significantly less. After 12 weeks, weight loss due to fungal decay was significantly greater in birch than in the other three wood species, and weight loss in red oak was significantly greater than in redwood. Wood consumption was greater on birch and red oak than on redwood or Alaska yellow cedar after 3 and 8 weeks of decay. In the experiment where blocks were decayed for 12 weeks before the feeding test was conducted, the average wood consumption of birch was greater than that of the other three wood species. Termite feeding behavior may have been positively affected by the rate of fungal decay. However, decay by P. chrysosporium did not appear to affect the relative feeding preference of Formosan subterranean termites for these four wood species.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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