Short Communication

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 91, Issue 4, pp 417-422

First online:

Relation between phylogenetic position, lipid metabolism and butyrate production by different Butyrivibrio-like bacteria from the rumen

  • Delphine PaillardAffiliated withRowett Research Institute
  • , Nest McKainAffiliated withRowett Research Institute
  • , Lal C. ChaudharyAffiliated withRowett Research InstituteCentre of Advanced Studies in Animal Nutrition, Indian Veterinary Research Institute
  • , Nicola D. WalkerAffiliated withRowett Research InstituteUnité de Microbiologie, INRA de Clermont-Ferrand-Theix
  • , Florian PizetteAffiliated withRowett Research Institute
  • , Ingrid KoppovaAffiliated withInstitute of Animal Physiology & Genetics
  • , Neil R. McEwanAffiliated withRowett Research InstituteInstitute of Rural Science, University of Wales
  • , Jan KopečnýAffiliated withInstitute of Animal Physiology & Genetics
  • , Philip E. VercoeAffiliated withAnimal Science Group, University of Western Australia
    • , Petra LouisAffiliated withRowett Research Institute
    • , R. John WallaceAffiliated withRowett Research Institute Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The Butyrivibrio group comprises Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and related Gram-positive bacteria isolated mainly from the rumen of cattle and sheep. The aim of this study was to investigate phenotypic characteristics that discriminate between different phylotypes. The phylogenetic position, derived from 16S rDNA sequence data, of 45 isolates from different species and different countries was compared with their fermentation products, mechanism of butyrate formation, lipid metabolism and sensitivity to growth inhibition by linoleic acid (LA). Three clear sub-groups were evident, both phylogenetically and metabolically. Group VA1 typified most Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio isolates, while Groups VA2 and SA comprised Butyrivibrio hungatei and Clostridium proteoclasticum, respectively. All produced butyrate but strains of group VA1 had a butyrate kinase activity <40 U (mg protein)−1, while strains in groups VA2 and SA all exhibited activities >600 U (mg protein)−1. The butyrate kinase gene was present in all VA2 and SA bacteria tested but not in strains of group VA1, all of which were positive for the butyryl-CoA CoA-transferase gene. None of the bacteria tested possessed both genes. Lipase activity, measured by tributyrin hydrolysis, was high in group VA2 and SA strains and low in Group VA1 strains. Only the SA group formed stearic acid from LA. Linoleate isomerase activity, on the other hand, did not correspond with phylogenetic position. Group VA1 bacteria all grew in the presence of 200 μg LA ml−1, while members of Groups VA2 and SA were inhibited by lower concentrations, some as low as 5 μg ml−1. This information provides strong links between phenotypic and phylogenetic properties of this group of clostridial cluster XIVa Gram-positive bacteria.


Biohydrogenation Linoleic acid Rumen