To obtain co-cultures of anaerobic fungi and their indigenously associated methanogens from the rumen of yaks grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and investigate their morphology features and ability to degrade lignocellulose.Methods and Results:
Twenty fungus-methanogen co-cultures were obtained by Hungate roll-tube technique. The fungi were identified as Orpinomyces, Neocallimastix and Piromyces genera based on the morphological characteristics and internal transcribed spacer 1 sequences analysis. All methanogens were identified as Methanobrevibacter sp. by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. There were four types of co-cultures: Neocallimastix with Methanobrevibacter ruminantium, Orpinomyces with M. ruminantium, Orpinomyces with Methanobrevibacter millerae and Piromyces with M. ruminantium among 20 co-cultures. In vitro studies with wheat straw as substrate showed that the Neocallimastix with M. ruminantium co-cultures and Piromyces with M. ruminantium co-cultures exhibited higher xylanase, filter paper cellulase (FPase), ferulic acid esterase, acetyl esterase activities, in vitro dry matter digestibility, gas, CH4, acetate production, ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid releases. The Neocallimastix frontalis Yak16 with M. ruminantium co-culture presented the strongest lignocellulose degradation ability among 20 co-cultures.Conclusions:
Twenty fungus-methanogen co-cultures were obtained from the rumen of grazing yaks. The N. frontalis with M. ruminantium co-cultures were highly effective combination for developing a fermentative system that bioconverts lignocellulose to high activity fibre-degrading enzyme, CH4 and acetate.Significance and Impact of the Study:
The N. frontalis with M. ruminantium co-cultures from yaks grazing on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau present great potential in lignocellulose biodegradation industry.