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Antimicrobial Activities of Microorganisms Obtained from the gut of Macrotermes michaelseni in Maseno, Kenya

Aswani Susan Ayitso, David Miruka Onyango, Samuel Otieno Wagai.

Abstract
The major gut microflora colonizing the hind gut of higher termites, include morphologically diverse microorganisms. The gut of termites is a major source of termicin and spinigerin antibiotics which are and have been useful for protection of plants from pathogenic fungi in addition to their medicinal purposes. The termite gut thus presents a novel habitat for searching for new antibiotic producing isolates. However, the users of these antibiotics in drug manufacture face challenges such as increased resistance and reduced efficacy thus creating a need for discovering suitable effective cheap drugs to treat common antimicrobial infections. It is argued that Macrotermes michaelseni harbor dense population of actinobacteria, which are known to produce a wide variety of secondary metabolites including many commercially important enzymes and antibiotics. In this study the Macrotermes michaelseni were collected from actively growing mound in Maseno University compound. Seventeen isolates isolated from the gut of Macrotermes michaelseni were examined for their abilities to produce substances with antibiotic activities when grown in pure culture. All isolates appeared to form measurable antibiotic activities against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureas and Citrobacter freundii. The inhibition zones formed against Escherichia coli and Citrobacter freundii were significant in dilution and isolates while Staphylococcus aureas showed no significance in dilution. Two Factor Completely Randomized Design was applied. All the analysis were done using MSTATC statistical package. Means from the measurements were separated using Tukey LSD and significance level tested at p≤0.05. The isolates did not form inhibition zones against Candida albicans, Shigella species and Salmonella paratyphi. Nine out of the seventeen isolates that showed particularly strong inhibition patterns were studied in detail. These results confirmed that the gut of Macrotermes michaelseni could be used as a source of natural products providing a new weapon against the problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Key words: Antibiotics, Macrotermes michaeliseni, gut, microhabitat, antibiotic properties


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