Detection and monitoring of anaerobic rumen fungi using an ARISA method

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To develop an automated ribosomal intergenic spacer region analysis (ARISA) method for the detection of anaerobic rumen fungi and also to demonstrate utility of the technique to monitor colonization and persistence of fungi, and diet-induced changes in community structure.

Methods and Results

The method could discriminate between three genera of anaerobic rumen fungal isolates, representing Orpinomyces, Piromyces and Neocallimastix species. Changes in anaerobic fungal composition were observed between animals fed a high-fibre diet compared with a grain-based diet. ARISA analysis of rumen samples from animals on grain showed a decrease in fungal diversity with a dominance of Orpinomyces and Piromyces spp. Clustering analysis of ARISA profile patterns grouped animals based on diet. A single strain of Orpinomyces was dosed into a cow and was detectable within the rumen fungal population for several weeks afterwards.


The ARISA technique was capable of discriminating between pure cultures at the genus level. Diet composition has a significant influence on the diversity of anaerobic fungi in the rumen and the method can be used to monitor introduced strains.

Significance and Impact of the Study

Through the use of ARISA analysis, a better understanding of the effect of diets on rumen anaerobic fungi populations is provided.

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