Establishing populations of Megasphaera elsdenii YE 34 and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens YE 44 in the rumen of cattle fed high grain diets

A. V. Klieve, D. Hennessy, D. Ouwerkerk, R. J. Forster, R. I. Mackie, G. T. Attwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To determine whether Megasphaera elsdenii YE34 (lactic acid degrader) and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens YE44 (alternative starch utilizer to Streptococcus boris) establish viable populations in the rumen of beef cattle rapidly changed from a forage-based to a grain-based diet. Methods and Results: Five steers were inoculated with the two bacterial strains (YE34 and YE44) and five served as uninoculated controls. With the exception of one animal in the control group, which developed acidosis, all steers rapidly adapted to the grain-based diet without signs of acidosis (pH decline and accumulation of lactic acid). Bacterial populations of S. boris, B. fibrisolvens and M. elsdenii were enumerated using real-time Taq nuclease assays. Populations of S. boris remained constant (except in the acidotic animal) at ca 107 cell equivalents (CE) ml-1 throughout the study. Megasphaera elsdenii YE34, was not detectable in animals without grain in the diet, but immediately established in inoculated animals, at 106 CE ml -1, and increased 100-fold in the first 4 days following inoculation. Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, initially present at 108 CE ml -1, declined rapidly with the introduction of grain into the diet and was not detectable 8 days after grain introduction. Conclusion: Megasphaera elsdenii rapidly establishes a lactic acid-utilizing bacterial population in the rumen of grain-fed cattle 7-10 days earlier than in uninoculated cattle. Significance and Impact of the Study: The study has demonstrated that rumen bacterial populations, and in particular the establishment of bacteria inoculated into the rumen for probiotic use, can be monitored by real-time PCR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-630
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2003


  • Grain feeding
  • Lactic acidosis
  • Megasphaera elsdenii
  • Probiotic bacteria
  • Rumen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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