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J Dairy Sci. 1997 Oct;80(10):2442-8.

The endogenous polysaccharide utilization rate of mixed ruminal bacteria and the effect of energy starvation on ruminal fermentation rates.

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1
Section of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract

When mixed ruminal bacteria were starved in vitro for 24 h, cellular ATP decreased, but there was little change in cell protein. Starved ruminal bacteria derived most of their ATP from cellular polysaccharide. Because polysaccharide declined at a first-order rate of 23%/h, it was possible to estimate the endogenous polysaccharide utilization rate at various stages of starvation by multiplying the amount of utilizable polysaccharide remaining at each time point by 0.23. The bacteria initially had a rate of soluble carbohydrate fermentation that was > 717 micrograms of hexose equivalent/mg of protein per h. Starvation had little impact on the rate of soluble carbohydrate fermentation until 8 to 12 h, and the endogenous polysaccharide utilization rate was < 10 micrograms of hexose/mg of protein per h. The bacteria digested ball-milled cellulose at a rate of 24 micrograms of hexose/mg of protein per h for 8 to 12 h. Even bacteria that had been starved for 24 h fermented cellulose at a rate of 16 micrograms of hexose/mg of protein per h. The rate of methane production was initially 70 nmol of methane/mg of protein per min. Short periods of starvation (< 12 h) had little impact on methane production, but longer times caused an almost complete inhibition of methanogenesis. The rate of amino acid deamination was initially 31 nmol of ammonia/mg of protein per min, and the critical phase of starvation was again 8 to 12 h. Ruminal bacteria that were harvested at 24 h after feeding had 10-fold less polysaccharide than did bacteria that were harvested at 2 h after feeding, but this polysaccharide supported high rates of soluble carbohydrate and cellulose fermentation, deamination, and methane production.

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