MadSci Network: Biochemistry

Re: are termites able to eat paper money, considering all the chemicals it has?

Date: Mon Jul 31 09:34:08 2000
Posted By: Danise Coar, Staff, Research, Development and Engineering, Philip Morris USA
Area of science: Biochemistry
ID: 963848122.Bc

Termites live in social groups and have a highly developed caste system in 
their colonies.  They feed on the cast skins and waste products of other 
termites, dead termites and plant materials like wood.    Termites are 
able to ingest wood because of the many microorganisms in their digestive 
tracts.  These microorganisms digest cellulose which is a component of 
plant materials.

In answer to your question, yes, termites can feed on paper money in spite 
of the other compounds that might be present.  

Borror, DeLong and Triplehorn.  1981.  An Introduction to the Study of 

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