SUMMARY: The breakdown of degraded and undegraded varieties of cellulose was examined by using pure strains of bacteria isolated from the rumen of cattle. One strain of two strains of and two strains of were allowed to ferment ground cellulose power (prepared from filter paper), cellulose powder (Whatman) and undergraded cotton fibres, the extent of breakdown being followed by loss of weight of the insoluble substrate. All five organisms were highly active on degraded ground cellulose powder and dissolved 72--90%, but only one organism, strain s-85, was equally effective on cellulose powder (Whatman) or on undergraded cotton fibres. strain FD-1 was somewhat less potent on the latter substrates, achieving 40 and 60% dissolution, respectively, of cellulose powder (Whatman) and cotton fibres. strain 7 and strain c-94 had negligible effects on cotton fibres (10 and 0% solubilization, respectively). strain D-89, producing 40% solubilization of cotton fibres, was intermediate in activity between strain 7 and strain FD-1. Cell-free preparations from culture filtrates of strain s-85 gave only 4% breakdown of ground cellulose powder and up to 9% breakdown of cellulose powder (Whatman) in 17 days. Cell-free filtrates from the metabolism fluid of strain FD-1 or from the disintegrated organisms brought about 46 and 36% solubilization, respectively, of ground cellulose powder, but failed to attack cotton fibres. The results support the view that the capacity of an organism or cell-free enzyme to attack any one particular form of cellulose is no criterion of its ability to attack less degraded or undegraded types of cellulose.


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