Small sub-unit (SSU) rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes were used to monitor the persistence of a genetically engineered bacterium inoculated in model rumens. Eight dual flow continuous culture fermenters were operated with either standard artificial saliva buffer or buffer with chondroitin sulfate (0.5 g/l) added. After 168 h of operation, fermenters were inoculated with Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron BTX (BTX), at approximately 1% of total bacteria. B. thetaiotaomicron was quantified using a species-specific probe and shown to persist in fermenters 144 h after inoculation (relative abundance 0.48% and 1.42% of total SSU rRNA with standard and chondroitin sulfate buffers, respectively). No B. thetaiotaomicron SSU rRNA was detected in fermenter samples prior to inoculation with strain BTX. Relative abundances of Bacteria, Eucarya and Archaea were not affected by either inoculation or buffer type. Fiber digestion, in particular the hemicellulose fraction, increased after strain BTX addition. Chondroitin sulfate addition to the buffer increased bacterial nitrogen flow in fermenters, but did not alter fiber digestion. Neither inoculum nor buffer type altered total short chain fatty acid (VFA) concentrations but proportions of individual VFA differed. In model rumens, B. thetaiotaomicron BTX increased fiber digestion when added to mixed ruminal microbes, independent of chondroitin sulfate addition; but further study is needed to determine effects on other fiber-digesting bacteria.
- Anaerobic bacteria
- Fiber digestion
- Genetically modified organism
- Oligonucleotide probes