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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1987 Jan;53(1):22-6.

Influence of dietary fiber on xylanolytic and cellulolytic bacteria of adult pigs.


Xylanolytic and cellulolytic bacteria were enumerated over an 86-day period from fecal samples of 10 8-month-old gilts that were fed either a control or a 40% alfalfa meal (high-fiber) diet. Fecal samples were collected from all pigs on days 0, 3, 5, 12, 25, 37, 58, and 86. Overall, the numbers of xylanolytic bacteria producing greater than 5-mm-diameter zones of clearing on 0.24% xylan roll tube medium after 24 to 36 h of incubation were 1.6 X 10(8) and 4.2 X 10(8)/g (dry weight) of feces for the control pigs and those fed the high-fiber diet, respectively. After 1 week of incubation, a large number of smaller zones of clearing (1 to 2 mm) appeared. Besides Bacteroides succinogenes and Ruminococcus flavefaciens, which produced faint zones of clearing in xylan roll tubes, three strains which closely resembled B. ruminicola hydrolyzed and used xylan for growth. The overall numbers of cellulolytic bacteria producing zones of clearing in 0.5% agar roll tube medium were 0.36 X 10(8) and 4.1 X 10(8)/g for the control pigs and those fed the high-fiber diet, respectively. B. succinogenes was the predominant cellulolytic isolate from both groups of pigs, and R. flavefaciens was found in a ratio of approximately 1 to 15 with B. succinogenes. Degradation of xylan and cellulose, measured by in vitro dry matter disappearance after inoculation with fecal samples, was significantly greater for pigs fed the high-fiber diet than that for the controls. These data suggest that the number of fibrolytic microorganisms and their activity in the large intestine of the adult pig can be increased by feeding pigs high-alfalfa-fiber diets and that these organisms are similar to those found in the rumen.

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