The antibiotic monensin was added to pure cultures of Bacteroides ruminicola, Selenomonas ruminantium, Anaerovibrio lipolytica and Megasphaera elsdenii. These organisms, representing succinate- and propionate-producing rumen bacteria, were not affected by monensin up to 10 μg/ml. Methanobacterium ruminantium was slightly inhibited by monensin, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Ruminococcus albus and Streptococcus bovis were inhibited to differing extents by monensin at concentrations between 0.1 and 10 μg/ml. Bacteroides succinogenes was inhibited at first by monensin at >0.5 μg/ml but after a prolonged lag phase adapted to grow in the presence of monensin at concentrations below 5 μg/ml.
Monensin (1 μg/ml) almost completely stopped the digestion of chopped straw and dewaxed cotton fibres by rumen contents incubated in vitro. The digestion of grass and powdered filter paper was not significantly reduced under these conditions, but when the concentration of monensin was increased to between 3 and 5 μg/ml, the digestion of these substrates was reduced.
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