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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1981 Nov;42(5):856-62.

Effects of long-chain Fatty acids on growth of rumen bacteria.

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  • 1Department of Dairy Science, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, Ohio 44691.


The effects of low concentrations of long-chain fatty acids (palmitic, stearic, oleic, and vaccenic) on the growth of seven species (13 strains) of rumen bacteria were investigated. Except for Bacteroides ruminicola and several strains of Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, bacterial growth was not greatly affected by either palmitic or stearic acids. In contrast, growth of Selenomonas ruminantium, B. ruminicola, and one strain of B. fibrisolvens was stimulated by oleic acid, whereas the cellulolytic species were markedly inhibited by this acid. Vaccenic acid (trans Delta11 18:1) had far less inhibitory effect on the cellulolytic species than oleic acid (cis Delta9 18:1). Inclusion of powdered cellulose in the medium appeared to reverse both inhibitory and stimulatory effects of added fatty acids. However, there was little carry-over effect observed when cells were transferred from a medium with fatty acids to one without. Considerable variation in response to added fatty acids was noted among five strains of B. fibrisolvens. In general, exogenous long-chain fatty acids appear to have little, if any, energy-sparing effect on the growth of rumen bacteria.

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