SUMMARY: Urease activity in the sheep rumen varied with the diet of the sheep, but appeared to be largely or entirely present in the small bacterial fraction. Screening of over 1000 strains of rumen bacteria isolated on different media showed that urease activity was apparently confined to species of Staphylococcus, var. and Consideration of the numbers in which these occurred and their activities suggested that the bacteria could not be responsible for the total rumen urease activity. By enrichment culture a ureolytic strain of was isolated. This had a higher urease activity than the other bacteria and occurred in higher numbers in the rumen. It could live with other bacteria in the rumen of a gnotobiotic lamb in numbers, and with a urease activity, comparable with those in the normal sheep rumen. The other properties of the bacterium also suggested that it would grow and produce urease in the rumen, but was unlikely to retain its urease activity after isolation. It was concluded that this bacterium was the main source of rumen urease in roughage-fed, and probably other, sheep.


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