Twenty-five strains of cellulolytic cocci were isolated from the rumen contents of seven sheep, over a period of two years. Six sheep were maintained at roughly constant body weight on chaffed lucerne hay or a lucerne chaff/oat chaff mixture. One strain was obtained from an animal on a low protein diet.

The bacteria were classified as or by the accepted monothetic classification. Morphological, cultural, nutritional and fermentation data were then used to classify them by a numerical method. It was concluded that the numerical classification of these strains agreed closely with the classification by more established methods, but justified the assignment of relationship between members of the same species.

The nutritional characteristics of 11 strains capable of growth in partially defined medium were investigated. An organic nitrogen source was essential for three strains; the remaining eight strains grew better with casein hydrolysate than with ammonium sulphate as the sole nitrogen source. Although ammonium ions were not essential for growth, only three strains were capable of growth in the absence of volatile fatty acids. CO was essential for 10 of 11 strains.


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