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J Appl Bacteriol. 1994 Jan;76(1):55-61.

Competition between reductive acetogenesis and methanogenesis in the pig large-intestinal flora.

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Laboratoire de Nutrition et Sécurité Alimentaire, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Washed bacterial suspensions obtained from the pig hindgut were incubated under 13CO2 in a buffer containing NaH13CO3 and carbohydrates. Incorporation of 13C into short chain fatty acids was assayed by quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance. The effects of different levels of H2 added to the gas phase (0, 20 and 80% v/v) and of the specific methanogenesis inhibitor 2-bromoethane-sulphonic acid (BES) were determined. In control incubations increasing the concentration of H2 markedly increased methane production. Single- and double-labelled acetate and butyrate were formed in all incubations. In the absence of BES, increasing H2 significantly increased the incorporation of 13CO2 into butyrate and the proportion of double-labelled acetate in total labelled acetate. The addition of BES proved to be very successful as a methane inhibitor and greatly enhanced the amount of mono- and double-labelled acetate, especially at the highest H2 partial pressure. The results suggest that methanogenesis inhibited both routes of reductive acetogenesis, i.e. the homoacetate fermentation of hexose (represented for the most part by single labelling) and the synthesis of acetate from external CO2 and H2 (represented mostly by double labelling). A highly significant interaction between BES and H2 concentration was observed. At the highest pH2 BES increased the proportion of labelled acetate in total acetate from 17.1% for the control to 50.9%. It was concluded that although acetogenesis and methanogenesis can occur simultaneously in the pig hindgut, reductive acetogenesis may become a significant pathway of acetate formation in the absence of methanogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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