Five strains of proteolytic rumen bacteria were treated with condensed tannins (CT) purified from Lotus pedunculatus and Lotus corniculatus to investigate their effect on the growth of these bacteria in vitro. Streptococcus bovis NCFB 2476, Eubacterium sp. C124b, Prevotella bryantii B14, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens H17c, and Clostridium proteoclasticum B316T were tested against 200, 400, and 600 g CTmL-1 extracted from L. pedunculatus and L. corniculatus. In the absence of CT, all bacterial strains showed typical growth and reached maximum optical density (OD) after 6-8 h of incubation in a plant protein medium. Growth of Eubacterium sp., P. bryantii, and B. fibrisolvens was inhibited (P < 0.01-0.001) more by the CT from L. pedunculatus than by the CT from L. corniculatus. All strains continued to grow in the presence of 200 gmL-1 of the CT from L. pedunculatus, but attained significantly (P < 0.05-0.01) lower maximum OD600 values than (minus CT) controls, except for S. bovis. At 400 and 600 gmL-1, the addition of CT from L. pedunculatus inhibited (P < 0.05-0.001) the growth of all bacterial strains tested compared with controls. The growth of Eubacterium sp. and P. bryantii was stimulated for the first 4-6 h of incubation (P < 0.001) by 200 gmL-1 of CT from L. corniculatus, but then declined leading to a significant difference in OD values compared with the controls. At 400 gmL-1, the CT from L. corniculatus reduced (P < 0.05-0.01) the growth of all strains except S. bovis, while 600 gmL-1 inhibited (P < 0.01-0.001) the growth of all strains. To study the mechanism of CT action, the degradation of the large subunit (LSU) of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco; Fraction 1 Leaf protein) was followed after bacterial cells or Rubisco were preincubated with CT extracted from L. corniculatus and L. pedunculatus. Both preincubations decreased LSU degradation, but they differed in their response to polyethylene glycol (PEG) addition. Addition of PEG to CT-Rubisco preincubations negated the effects of CT, while PEG addition to CT-bacteria preincubations did not. This implies that the CT-bacterial interaction is stronger than the CT-Rubisco interaction or the interaction is of a different type. Also, L. pedunculatus CT reduced the degradation of the LSU to a greater extent than the CT from L. corniculatus when preincubated with bacteria.Key words: condensed tannins, growth, in vitro, proteolytic rumen bacteria, mode of action, Rubisco.
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