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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Jul;66(7):2921-7.

Antibiosis between ruminal bacteria and ruminal fungi.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio 44691-4096, USA.


Cellulose digestion, bacterial numbers, and fungal numbers were monitored over time in vitro by using a purified cellulose medium with and without antibiotics (penicillin and streptomycin). All fermentations were inoculated with a 1:10 dilution of whole rumen contents (WRC). Without antibiotics, cellulose digestion was higher (P < 0.01) at 24, 30, 48, and 72 h; fungi had almost disappeared by 24 h, while bacterial concentrations increased over 100-fold in 24 h and then decreased gradually up to 72 h. In those fermentations with added antibiotics, fungal concentrations increased 4-fold by 30 h and up to 42-fold at 72 h; bacterial concentrations were markedly reduced by 24 h and remained low through 72 h. Similar results were obtained with ground alfalfa as a substrate. In further studies, the in vitro fermentation of purified cellulose without antibiotics was stopped after 18 to 20 h, and the microbial population was killed by autoclaving. Antibiotics were added to half of the tubes, and all tubes were reinoculated with WRC. After 72 h, extensive cellulose digestion had occurred in those tubes without antibiotics, as compared to very low cellulose digestion with added antibiotics. The extent of this inhibition was found to increase in proportion to the length of the initial fermentation period, suggesting the production of a heat-stable inhibitory factor or factors. The inhibitory activity was present in rumen fluid, could be extracted from lyophilized rumen fluid (LRF) with water, and was stable in response to proteolytic enzymes. In addition, the water-extracted residue of LRF was found to contain growth factor activity for rumen fungi in vitro.

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