SUMMARY: Ten isolates belonging to the genus and two each of and an unidentified sp. were isolated from high dilutions of rumen fluid from sheep conditioned to low-protein teff hay. The butyrivibrios solubilized between 10 and 37 % of the α-cellulose of the hay (average 21 %). The two isolates of degraded 43 and 56 % of the α-cellulose and the two of 39 and 66%, while the two Clostridium cultures achieved only 10% degradation. Hemicellulose degradation by the Butyrivibrio isolates was between 25 and 67% (mean 48 %) and that by the four Ruminococcus cultures between 47 and 65 %. One of the Clostridium cultures solubilized 21 % and the other 51 % of the hemicellulose. The butyrivibrios appear capable of contributing a greater share towards cellulose digestion in ruminants on low-protein hay than has been inferred from qualitative tests for cellulolysis, using refined cellulose preparations; they are probably less active than the ruminococci.


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