SUMMARY: The pattern of change of concentration of different groups of microorganisms in the rumen was found to be characteristic of the group and little affected by the time of day, the nature of the diet, or the host animal. The dilution rate of rumen liquor and the rate of change of concentration of several groups of micro-organisms were measured at intervals following feeding; this allowed calculation of the apparent specific growth rate. The changes in concentration of the ophryoscolecid ciliate protozoa, the selenomonads and the oval organism described by Eadie could be explained as the resultant of the changes in dilution rate due to the act of eating and in growth rate in response to incoming nutrients. Rates of change in concentration greater than could be accounted for on the basis of growth and dilution alone were found with the peptostreptococci, the polymastigate flagellate protozoa and the holotrich ciliate protozoa. It is suggested that the peptostreptococci underwent lysis or engulfment by other organisms and that the polymastigates became sequestered, probably close to the rumen wall. The concentration changes of the holotrichs were more difficult to understand, but it would appear that little division took place for some 18 hr after feeding, followed by several divisions in quick succession. The oscillospirae showed two peaks in concentration; no explanation can be offered for this.


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