In vitro microbial inoculum: A review of its function and properties
Mould, F. L., Kliem, K. E., Morgan, R. and Mauricio, R. M. (2005) In vitro microbial inoculum: A review of its function and properties. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 123. pp. 31-50. ISSN 0377-8401
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2005.04.028
This review considers microbial inocula used in in vitro systems from the perspective of their ability to degrade or ferment a particular substrate, rather than the microbial species that it contains. By necessity, this required an examination of bacterial, protozoal and fungal populations of the rumen and hindgut with respect to factors influencing their activity. The potential to manipulate these populations through diet or sampling time are examined, as is inoculum preparation and level. The main alternatives to fresh rumen fluid (i.e., caecal digesta or faeces) are discussed with respect to end-point degradabilities and fermentation dynamics. Although the potential to use rumen contents obtained from donor animals at slaughter offers possibilities, the requirement to store it and its subsequent loss of activity are limitations. Statistical modelling of data, although still requiring a deal of developmental work, may offer an alternative approach. Finally, with respect to the range of in vitro methodologies and equipment employed, it is suggested that a degree of uniformity could be obtained through generation of a set of guidelines relating to the host animal, sampling technique and inoculum preparation. It was considered unlikely that any particular system would be accepted as the 'standard' procedure. However, before any protocol can be adopted, additional data are required (e.g., a method to assess inoculum 'quality' with respect to its fermentative and/or degradative activity), preparation/inoculation techniques need to be refined and a methodology to store inocula without loss of efficacy developed. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.