Removal of anaerobic fungi from the rumen of sheep by chemical treatment and the effect on feed consumption and in vivo fibre digestion

Authors

  • G.L.R. Gordon,

    1. Division of Animal Production, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Blacktown, New South Wales 2148, Australia
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  • M.W. Phillips

    1. Division of Animal Production, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Blacktown, New South Wales 2148, Australia
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Abstract

The population of anaerobic fungi in the rumen of sheep was reduced by the addition of tetronasin (an ionophore antibiotic) to a herbage diet. Fungi were reduced to undetectable levels (< 1 fungal zoospore per ml rumen fluid) by the combined addition of tetronasin and cycloheximide (a protein synthesis inhibitor) and the absence of fungi was maintained with low levels of tetronasin. Sheep with fungi present in the rumen ate 40% more of a straw-based diet (with a fibre digestibility in vivo of 51%) than they ate when without fungi (47% fibre digestibility). Counts of total viable bacteria, cellulolytic bacteria and ciliate protozoa in the rumen were not significantly different when anaerobic fungi were either present or absent.

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