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Microbiology. 2001 Jan;147(Pt 1):21-30.

Competition among three predominant ruminal cellulolytic bacteria in the absence or presence of non-cellulolytic bacteria.

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Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Competition among three species of ruminal cellulolytic bacteria - Fibrobacter succinogenes S85, Ruminococcus flavefaciens FD-1 and Ruminococcus albus 7 - was studied in the presence or absence of the non-cellulolytic ruminal bacteria Selenomonas ruminantium or Streptococcus bovis. Co-cultures were grown under either batch or continuous conditions and populations were estimated using species-specific oligonucleotide probes to 16S rRNA. The three cellulolytic species co-existed in cellobiose batch co-culture, but inclusion of either Sel. ruminantium or Str. bovis yielded nearly a monoculture of the non-cellulolytic competitor. In cellobiose chemostats, R. albus completely dominated the triculture, but R. flavefaciens became predominant over F. succinogenes and R. albus when Sel. ruminantium was co-inoculated into the chemostats. Similar effects on competition were observed in the presence of Str. bovis at a lower (0.021 h(-1)), but not at a higher (0.045 h(-1)) dilution rate. In cellulose batch co-cultures, R. albus was more abundant than both F. succinogenes and R. flavefaciens, regardless of the presence of the non-cellulolytic species. Co-existence among the three cellulolytic species was observed in almost all cellulose chemostats, but Sel. ruminantium altered the relative proportions of the cellulolytic species. R. albus and R. flavefaciens were found to produce inhibitors that suppressed growth of R. flavefaciens and F. succinogenes, respectively. These data indicate that interactions among cellulolytic bacteria, while complex, can be modified further by non-cellulolytic species.

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