Effects of aromatic amino acids, phenylacetate and phenylpropionate on fermentation of xylan by the rumen anaerobic fungi, Neocallimastix frontalis and Piromyces communis

A. Y. Guliye, R. J. Wallace

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Aims: Anaerobic fungi are important members of the fibrolytic community of the rumen. The aim of this study was to study their requirement for aromatic amino acids (AA) and related phenyl acids (phenylpropionic and phenylacetic acids) for optimal xylan fermentation.

Methods and Results: Neocallimastix frontalis RE1 and Piromyces communis P were grown in a defined medium containing oat spelts xylan as the sole energy source, plus one of the following N sources: ammonia; ammonia plus a complete mixture of 20 AA commonly found in protein; ammonia plus complete AA mixture minus aromatic AA; ammonia plus phenyl acids; ammonia plus complete AA mixture without aromatic AA plus phenyl acids. Both species grew in all the media, indicating no absolute requirement for AA. The complete AA mixture increased (P < 0.05) acetate concentration by 18% and 15%, sugar utilization by 33% and 22% and microbial yield by about 22% and 15% in N. frontalis and P. communis, respectively, in comparison with the treatments that had ammonia as the only N source. Neither the supply of aromatic AA or phenol acids, nor their deletion from the complete AA mixture, affected the fermentation rate, products or yield of either species.

Conclusions: AA were not essential for N. frontalis and P. communis, but their growth on xylan was stimulated. The effects could not be explained in terms of aromatic AA alone.

Significance and Impact of the Study: Ruminant diets should contain sufficient protein to sustain optimal fibre digestion by ruminal fungi. Aromatic AA or phenyl acids alone cannot replace the complete AA mixture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)924-929
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • aromatic amino acids
  • phenylacetic acid
  • phenylpropionic acid
  • rumen fungi
  • xylan

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