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Relative fibrolytic activities of anaerobic rumen fungi on untreated and sodium hydroxide treated barley straw in in vitro culture

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mohammad Rezaeian, Dr Gordon Beakes, Dr Abdul ChaudhryORCiD


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The fibrolytic activities of rumen fungi were studied in terms of dry matter loss, plant cell wall degradation and enzyme (cellulase and xylanase) activities, when grown in vitro on either untreated or sodium hydroxide treated stems of barley straw over a 12 day period. Changes in fungal growth, development and overall biomass were followed using chitin assay and scanning electron microscopy. Treatment with sodium hydroxide resulted in a decrease in the NDF content together with the disruption of cuticle and the loosening and separation of the plant cells within the straw fragments. The enzyme activities of the anaerobic fungi have a high positive correlation (R2=0.99) with their biomass concentration assessed by chitin assay indicating that chitin is a valuable index for the estimation of the fungal biomass in vitro. The anaeobic fungi produced very extensive rhizoidal systems in these in vitro cultures. After incubation with rumen fungi, dry matter losses were, respectively, 35% and 38% for the untreated and treated straw samples and the overall fungal biomass, determined by chitin assay, was significantly higher in the treated samples. In vitro degradation of cellulose and hemicellulose was also higher in the treated than that of untreated cultures. Although, comparatively, xylanase activity was higher than that of cellulase, the cellulose fraction of the straw was degraded more than hemicellulose in both treated and untreated straw. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rezaeian M, Beakes GW, Chaudhry AS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Anaerobe

Year: 2005

Volume: 11

Issue: 3

Pages: 163-175

Print publication date: 01/06/2005

ISSN (print): 1075-9964

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8274

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2004.10.008


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