ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF BACTERIA ISOLATES FROM SOIL FEEDING TERMITES AND SOIL FROM JUJA AND KAKAMEGA FOREST IN KENYA

  • R. Ntabo 1,2Department of Botany, Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • H. Boga Department of Botany, Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • A. Muigai Institute for Biotechnology Research, Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • R. Mwirichia Institute for Biotechnology Research, Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya

Abstract

have been focused on wood feeding termites but studies on soil feeders remain sparse owing to their difficulty of
establishing permanent laboratory cultures. The aim of this study was to isolate, characterize and identify bacteria
resident in the soil feeding termite gut, mound and parent soil of Cubitermes species with the potential to produce
antibiotics and enzymes for industrialization. The samples were collected from kakamega forest from two sites
Kalunya Glade and Lirhanda Hill. The study was also extended to the soils found in Juja. Hundred and thirty seven
(137) isolates were cultivated and isolated using dilute nutrient agar media and screened for their antagonistic
effects on various test organisms. Fifty one percent of the isolates were antagonist to Escherichia coli. Fifty seven
percent of the isolates were antagonists to Bacillus subtilis while 55% of the isolates were antagonist to Candida
albicans. Enzymatic activities of the isolates showed that 65% of the total isolates were starch degraders, 54%
were casein degraders and 68% of the isolates were able to liquefy gelatin. Eleven percent of the isolates were
cellulose degraders the majority of which were obtained from termite gut and mound. Isolates from Juja soil had
the highest number of non degraders as compared to Kakamega Forest soils. The isolates were characterized using
morphological, biochemical and molecular methods. Phylogenetic analysis of amplified 16S rRNA gene sequence
revealed majority of the isolates were closely related to Bacillus and Brachybacterium species and had showed
invitro antagonistic effects. Gram negative bacterial isolates obtained were closely related to Pseudomonas
species. In conclusion, the isolates were potential antibiotic producers with varying ability to degrade gelatin,
casein, and cellulose an indication of the role they play in their habitat

Published
2019-05-13