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In vitro microbial digestion of straw cell wall polysaccharides in response to supplementation with different sources of carbohydrates

A. Barrios Urdaneta, M. Fondevila, J. Balcells, C. Dapoza and C. Castrillo

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 51(3) 393 - 400
Published: 2000


The effect of carbohydrate supplementation on microbial fibre digestion was studied in vitro, by measuring the disappearance of cell wall monosaccharides, bacterial adhesion (mmol purine bases per g residue), and total (per g residue) and bacterial (per mmol purine bases) polysaccharidase activity. Straw cell walls (CW, 0.5% w/v) were cultured in medium supplemented with (0.275% w/v) or without starch, a sugar mixture, or pectin. Supplementation with these constituents did not cause a drop in pH below 6.1, and increased all parameters investigated with the exception of bacterial polysaccharidase activity, which was higher for CW cultures, suggesting a higher proportion of fibrolytic bacteria in the adherent population. By comparison with starch and sugar, pectin supplementation resulted in a lower proportion of residual sugars remaining from cell walls after 60 and 72 h (P < 0.05), which resulted in greater bacterial adhesion after 8 and 12 h (P < 0.05) and higher total cellulase activity after 8 h (P < 0.01). This was perhaps because pectin may cover particle surfaces, protecting the digestive area from external factors, or may act as a substrate for cellulolytic bacteria. The lack of differences in bacterial enzymatic activities suggests the absence of qualitative or quantitative differences in the adherent fibrolytic population.

Keywords: rumen bacteria, carbohydrate supplements, adhesion, enzymatic activity.

© CSIRO 2000

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