Competition among three species of ruminal cellulolytic bacteria – S85, FD-1 and 7 – was studied in the presence or absence of the non-cellulolytic ruminal bacteria or . Co-cultures were grown under either batch or continuous conditions and populations were estimated using species-specific oligonucleotide probes to 16S rRNA. The three cellulolytic species co-existed in cellobiose batch co-culture, but inclusion of either or yielded nearly a monoculture of the non-cellulolytic competitor. In cellobiose chemostats, completely dominated the triculture, but became predominant over and when was co-inoculated into the chemostats. Similar effects on competition were observed in the presence of at a lower (0021 h), but not at a higher (0045 h) dilution rate. In cellulose batch co-cultures, was more abundant than both and , regardless of the presence of the non-cellulolytic species. Co-existence among the three cellulolytic species was observed in almost all cellulose chemostats, but altered the relative proportions of the cellulolytic species. and were found to produce inhibitors that suppressed growth of and , respectively. These data indicate that interactions among cellulolytic bacteria, while complex, can be modified further by non-cellulolytic species.


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