• rumen bacteria;
  • fiber digestion;
  • coculture;
  • Fibrobacter succinogenes


In a previous study, we reported the ecological significance of uncultured bacterial group U2 in the rumen. In this study, the involvement of a recently cultured group U2 bacterium, strain R-25, in fiber digestion was tested in coculture with the fibrolytic bacterium Fibrobacter succinogenes S85. Dry matter (DM) digestion, growth and metabolites were examined in culture using rice straw as the carbon source. Although strain R-25 did not digest rice straw in monoculture, coculture of strain R-25 and F. succinogenes S85 showed enhanced DM digestion compared with that for F. succinogenes S85 monoculture (36.9 ± 0.6% vs. 32.8 ± 1.3%, < 0.05). Growth of strain R-25 and production of the main metabolites, d-lactate (strain R-25) and succinate (F. succinogenes S85), were enhanced in the coculture. Enzyme assay showed increased activities of carboxymethylcellulase and xylanase in coculture of strain R-25 and F. succinogenes S85. Triculture including strain R-25, F. succinogenes S85 and Selenomonas ruminantium S137 showed a further increase in DM digestion (41.8 ± 0.8%, < 0.05) with a concomitant increase in propionate, produced from the conversion of d-lactate and succinate. These results suggest that the positive interaction between strains R-25 and F. succinogenes S85 causes increased rice straw digestion.