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Mycol Res. 2004 Oct;108(Pt 10):1227-33.

Distribution and estimation of anaerobic zoosporic fungi along the digestive tracts of sheep.

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Department of Animal health and Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.


The status of anaerobic zoosporic (Chytridiomycota) fungi along the entire digestive tract of sheep was assessed both analytically and microscopically. Digest samples were taken from different segments of the digestive tracts of three newly killed sheep that previously had been used in experimental dietary studies. These digest samples were tested for the presence of rumen fungi by assessing the recovery of live fungi from the samples, direct observation of digested plant remains under the scanning electron microscope (SEM), and using a chitin assay as an estimation of fungal biomass. Live anaerobic fungi were recovered from the abomasum, small and large intestine, caecum and faeces of sheep, but not from the digest samples of rumen and omasum. However, SEM examination of the samples confirmed the presence of fungal structures from all of these organs. In the large intestine and caecum samples the observed sporangial structures were rounded and showed conspicuous surface pitting. Results of the chitin assay indicated that the anaerobic fungi might account for up to 20% of the total microbial biomass in the rumen of sheep. The results of this study support the view that anaerobic fungi may be present as a resistant stage in the lower reaches of the digestive tract.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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