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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1992 January; 58(1): 48–54.
PMCID: PMC195171

Interaction of ruminal bacteria in the production and utilization of maltooligosaccharides from starch.


The degradation and utilization of starch by three amylolytic and one nonamylolytic species of ruminal bacteria were studied. Pure cultures of Streptococcus bovis JB1, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens 49, and Bacteroides ruminicola D31d rapidly hydrolyzed starch and maltooligosaccharides accumulated. The major starch hydrolytic products detected in S. bovis cultures were glucose, maltose, maltotriose, and maltotetraose. In addition to these oligosaccharides, B. fibrisolvens cultures produced maltopentaose. The products of starch hydrolysis by B. ruminicola were even more complex, yielding glucose through maltotetraose, maltohexaose, and maltoheptaose but little maltopentaose. Selenomonas ruminantium HD4 grew poorly on starch, digested only a small portion of the available substrate, and generated no detectable oligosaccharides as a result of cultivation in starch containing medium. S. ruminantium was able to grow on a mixture of maltooligosaccharides and utilize those of lower degree (less than 10) of polymerization. A coculture system containing S. ruminantium as a dextrin-utilizing species and each of the three amylolytic bacteria was developed to test whether the products of starch hydrolysis were available for crossfeeding to another ruminal bacterium. Cocultures of S. ruminantium and S. bovis contained large numbers of S. bovis but relatively few S. ruminantium and exhibited little change in the pattern of maltooligosaccharides observed for pure cultures of S. bovis. In contrast, S. ruminantium was able to compete with B. fibrisolvens and B. ruminicola for these growth substrates. When grown with B. fibrisolvens, S. ruminantium grew to high numbers and maltooligosaccharides accumulated to a much lesser degree than in cultures of B. fibrisolvens alone. S. ruminantium-B. ruminicola cultures contained large numbers of both species, and maltooligosaccharides never accumulated in these cocultures.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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