SUMMARY: A bacterium which can rapidly degrade phospholipids has been isolated from the ovine rumen and tentatively identified as a non-cellulolytic strain of When the organism was grown in batch culture the phospholipase activity appeared during the late exponential phase, peaked 4 to 8 h after maximum culture turbidity had been reached, and then rapidly disappeared. Activity was associated both with the whole cells and the cell-free culture supernatant.

Phosphatidylcholine was degraded via lysolecithin to produce free fatty acids and glycerylphosphorylcholine, indicating phospholipase A + B activity. The activity was stimulated by the addition to the incubation medium of oleic acid or sodium dodecylsulphate. There was no requirement for divalent cations, but the presence of cysteine at 10 M stimulated the activity many-fold even though the incubation was performed under an oxygen-free gas phase. Phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol were also attacked. The possible role of the organism in bringing about the degradation in the rumen of plant phospholipids in the sheep's diet is discussed.


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