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Ruminant Microbiology

Through collaboration with the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Microbiology (IGER) and members Animals Nutrition/Ruminant Microbiology (Prof. Mike Theodorou, Dr. Roger Merry and Dr. David Davies) at the a number of collaborative projects are currently underway:-

  1. Molecular ecology of anaerobic rumen fungi
  2. Optimization of silage inoculants using genetic algorithms

Molecular ecology of anaerobic rumen fungi

Emin Ozkose
E-Mail: eeo96@aber.ac.uk

Anaerobic fungi inhabiting the alimentary tract of most herbivores were first discovered in 1975 by Orpin. They are the primary colonizers of the plant material ingested by host animals and they have been shown to play a key role (alongside protozoans and bacteria) in the degradation of ingested plant polymers. The taxonomy of anaerobic gut fungi is still in a state of flux, though seventeen species belonging to 5 genera are currently recognised. 

This doctoral programme funded by the Turkish Government is being conducted at the UW Aberystwyth and IGER. Previous work (McGranaghan et al., 1999) at UW Abersytwyth has shown that anaerobic fungi can survive considerable periods outside the host animal.  The aim of this research is to examine in greater detail the diversity of anaerobic fungi in a range of host animals and to identify the factors which influence numbers of the various anaerobic fungal taxa.  A range of novel isolation methods alongside the use of PCR-based probes to identify particular taxa are currently in use.

In the course of this work two novel taxa have been identified.  The first, a novel spore-forming Anaeromyces species was isolated due to its ability to survive for long periods (>12mths) without subculture (other anaerobic fungi require subculture at least weekly). Cyllamyces aberensis


Thallus of Cyllamyces aberensis with a branched sporangiophore bearing multiple sporangia.


The second, isolated using standard media but with cellobiose instead of wheat straw is morphogically distinctive with a bulbous holdfast, multiple sporangia and branched sporangiophores. We consider this to be the first representative of a new genus Cyllamyces (named after the Welsh word for stomach - cylla), C. aberensis.



Optimization of silage inoculants using genetic algorithms


Helen Johnson
E-Mail: hej@aber.ac.uk

This BBSRC-funded project will begin in July 2000.

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