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Naturwissenschaften. 2005 Nov;92(11):497-503. Epub 2005 Sep 29.

Interaction of gut microflora with tannins in feeds.

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Dairy Microbiology Division, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal 132001, India.


Tannins (hydrolyzable and condensed) are water-soluble polyphenolic compounds that exert antinutritional effects on ruminants by forming complexes with dietary proteins. They limit nitrogen supply to animals, besides inhibiting the growth and activity of ruminal microflora. However, some gastrointestinal microbes are able to break tannin-protein complexes while preferentially degrading hydrolyzable tannins (HTs). Streptococcus gallolyticus, Lonepinella koalarum and Selenomonas ruminantium are the dominant bacterial species that have the ability to degrade HTs. These tanninolytic microorganisms possess tannin-degrading ability and have developed certain mechanisms to tolerate tannins in feeds. Hence, selection of efficient tanninolytic microbes and transinoculation among animals for long-term benefits become areas of intensive interest. Here, we review the effects of tannins on ruminants, the existence and significance of tannin-degrading microorganisms in diverse groups of animals and the mechanisms that tannin-degrading microorganisms have developed to counter the toxic effects of tannin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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