Estimates were made of the numbers of viable bacteria in the rumens of sheep receiving different rations. Representative colonies were isolated and tested for urease production. Some urease-positive isolates were characterized and identified. The ureolytic activities of the urease-producing isolates were determined and compared with the activity of rumen fluid. The rations fed to the sheep did not exert a significant influence on the relative numbers of the urease-producing organisms in the rumen. No obligately anaerobic ureolytic bacteria were found. All urease-positive isolates were facultatively anaerobic, Gram-positive, catalase-positive cocci. Out of ten isolates, nine were identified as and one as . The total urease activity of the different isolates based on the lowest numbers in which they were present in the rumen, compared favourably with the urease activity of rumen fluid. The facultatively anaerobic Grampositive cocci were probably responsible for a large proportion of the urease activity of the rumen fluid. Conditions prevailing in the rumen were found to be conducive to urease production by the isolates tested.


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