Lipolytic enzymes from the bovine rumen : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Biochemistry at Massey University

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Massey University
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1.1. Lipid metabolism in the ruminants and significance of hydrolysis and hydrogenation in the rumen. The digestion pattern of ruminants differs from other mammals in that the food of ruminants is subjected to a microbial fermentation in the rumen before passing into the true stomach. Carbohydrates, proteins, organic acids and many other food constituents are attacked by the micro organisms in the rumen and as a result short-chain fatty acids (VFA), CO2 , CH4 , NH3 etc. are produced as the end product of microbial metabolism. This ruminal fermentation has a considerable effect on the metabolic processes of the animal and moreover the functions of the rumen microorganisms are intimately associated with certain metabolic disorders of the ruminant (Bryant, 1959) e.g. Ketosis, bloat etc. It is now generally believed that the organisms of functional significance in the rumen are protozoa and bacteria which are capable of growth under the anaerobic conditions prevailing. The rumen provides an ideal anaerobic environment for a large and diverse microbial population at a temperature of 39°-40°C. The pH of the ingesta is slightly acid and the bacteria are adapted to live between pH 5.5 and 7.0 (Hungate, 1966). It is apparent from earlier studies that the lipids of ruminants differ in several respects from those of non-ruminant herbivorous animals in particular. Occurrence of unusually high proportions of stearic acid and the presence of trans acids and isomeric forms of oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid in depot fats and tissue lipids are peculiar to ruminants. [From Introduction]
Lipids, Metabolism, Enzymes, Rumen