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Adaptation of the ovine ruminal flora to biuret

  • H. H. E. Schröder (a1) and F. M. C. Gilchrist (a2)

Summary

The adaptation of the ruminal flora of sheep to the hydrolysis of biuret has been successfully demonstrated. Bi-weekly measurements of biuretolytic activity of ruminal ingesta were made before, during and after the supplementation of biuret to poor, medium and high-quality rations. Generally no activity was found prior to biuret feeding, but an almost immediate response to biuret feeding occurred which increased progressively with the number of days the animals were fed biuret. The time required to reach maximum activity on very low, medium and somewhat higher protein diets were found to be 15, 30 and 70 days approximately. The supplementation with starch in addition to biuret was found to increase biuretolytic activity. Since neither protein nor starch was found to have any direct effect on biuretolytic activity in vitro, a change in numbers of biuretolytic organisms in the ingesta is discussed as a likely mechanism for the adaptation and de-adaptation of the ruminal flora. A stoichiometric conversion of biuret-N to NH3-N by active ingesta was demonstrated in vitro but was not reflected by the nitrogen levels in vivo. The activity of the ingesta was greatly reduced by straining.

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Adaptation of the ovine ruminal flora to biuret

  • H. H. E. Schröder (a1) and F. M. C. Gilchrist (a2)

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