Washed suspensions of the rumen ciliate protozoon incubated anaerobically in the presence of ampicillin utilized cellulose and to a lesser extent starch, but not soluble sugars. The protozoon incorporated C from C-labelled cellulose, glucose and starch; it synthesized protein from these compounds but only at a rate that would allow for the protozoa to divide every 8300, 1200 and 580 h, respectively, if this were the sole source of protein. These substrates were also metabolized with the production of acetic, propionic and butyric acids. Evidence is presented that 70 % of the cellulase inside the protozoa is soluble and not of bacterial origin. It had an activity of 11 to 28 pg cellulose digested h protozoon [0.55 to 3.3 μg cellulose digested h (mg protein)].


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