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Rumen Protozoal Degradation of Structurally Intact Forage Tissues

By Henry E. Amos and Danny E. Akin


The association with and digestion of intact leaf sections of cool- and warm-season grasses by cattle rumen protozoa were investigated by light and scanning electron microscopy and by in vitro dry matter disappearance studies. Within extensively degraded areas of mesophyll tissue in cool-season forages, almost all protozoa were Epidinium ecaudatum form caudatum, with maximum numbers at 4 to 10 h of incubation. However, few protozoa were found inside warm-season forage leaves. In in vitro dry matter disappearance studies of a series of incubations with and without 1.6 mg of streptomycin per ml, which inhibited the cellulolytic activity of the bacteria, and in comparison with uninoculated controls, rumen protozoa degraded 11.0 and 3.7 percentage units of orchardgrass and bermuda-grass, respectively. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the tissues degraded in orchardgrass consisted of large amounts of mesophyll and portions of the parenchyma bundle sheath and epidermis; no tissue loss due to the protozoa was observed in bermudagrass. The relationship of these observations to forage digestion is discussed

Topics: General Microbial Ecology
Year: 1978
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:243077
Provided by: PubMed Central
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