Isolation of an anaerobic cellulolytic mixed culture
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Isolation and enrichment cultures were made for anaerobic cellulose utilizing micro-organisms from non-ruminant sources. Stable mixed cultures were developed which degraded pure cellulose (wet-milled filter paper) in a defined mineral salts medium. Components of the mixed cultures lost viability in monoculture when grown on cellulose. Growth on cellulose was stimulated at low oxygen concentrations, when increased cellulase activity and increased volatile fatty acid production occurred.
Low concentrations (0.1–3 mM) of cellobiose, and to a lesser extent, glucose stimulated solubilization of cellulose by the cultures, but higher concentrations had an inhibitory effect.
Growth on cellulose was accompanied by production of acetic, propionic and butyric acids. The production and profile of the acids was stable and characteristic of the culture. When an ‘open’ nonaseptic fermentation was employed, the fatty acid profile was variable and also included valeric acid.
KeywordsCellulose Fermentation Cellulase Cellobiose Mixed Culture
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