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Title: Effect of Naphthalene, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Dioctyl Phthalate, and Adipic Dioctyl Ester, Chemicals Found in the Nests of the Formosan Subterranean Termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) on a Saprophytic Mucor sp.

Author
item Wiltz, Beverly
item Henderson, Gregg - LSU Agcenter
item Chen, Jian - LSU Agcenter

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/22/1998
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Wiltz, B.A., Henderson, G., Chen, J. Effect of naphthalene, butylated hydroxytoluene, dioctyl phthalate, and adipic dioctyl ester, chemicals found in the nests of the Formosan subterranean termite (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) on a saprophytic Mucor sp. (Zygomycetes: Mucorales) Environmental Entomology 27(4): 936-940. 1998.

Interpretive Summary: Four chemicals that have been isolated from the nests of the Formosan subterranean termite were evaluated to determine their effect on a common nest fungus, a saprophytic Mucor sp. Butylated hydroxytoluene, dioctyl phthalate, and adipic dioctyl ester did not affect the growth of this fungus. At concentrations higher than found in termite nests, naphthalene inhibited fungal growth by its presence in the surrounding air. The enclosed environment within the termite nest makes fumigation a possible defense strategy for Formosan termites. However, in disturbed colonies, this barrier is broken, allowing air to enter the nest. This study demonstrated that, in combination with other control mechanisms, naphthalene may play a role in suppressing the growth of certain fungi in the termite nest.

Technical Abstract: Fungi are commonly found associated with termites and their nests. Four chemicals that have been isolated from the nests of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, were evaluated to determine their effect on a common nest fungus, a saprophytic Mucor sp. Butylated hydroxytoluene, dioctyl phthalate, and adipic dioctyl ester were not found to affect the growth of this fungus. At high concentrations, naphthalene inhibited the growth of this Mucor sp. through its presence in the surrounding air. The possible use of naphthalene by termites to control fungi is discussed.