Cut-lengths of perennial ryegrass leaf-blades influences in vitro fermentation by the anaerobic fungus neocallimastix frontalis

Hugo R. Jimenez, Joan E. Edwards, Ruth Sanderson, Alison H. Kingston-Smith*, Neil R. McEwan, Michael K. Theodorou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Anaerobic fungi in the gut of domesticated and wild mammalian herbivores play a key role in the host’s ability to utilize plant biomass. Due to their highly effective ability to enzymatically degrade lignocellulose, anaerobic fungi are biotechnologically interesting. Numerous factors have been shown to affect the ability of anaerobic fungi to break down plant biomass. However, methods to reduce the non-productive lag time in batch cultures and the effect of leaf-blade cut-length and condition on the fungal fermentation are not known. Therefore, experimentation using a novel gas production approach with pre-grown, axenic cultures of Neocallimastix frontalis was performed using both fresh and air-dried perennial ryegrass leaf-blades of different cut-lengths. The methodology adopted removed the lag-phase and demonstrated the digestion of un-autoclaved leaf-blades. Fermentation of leaf-blades of 4.0 cm cut-length produced 18.4% more gas yet retained 11.2% more apparent DM relative to 0.5 cm cut-length leaf-blades. Drying did not affect fermentation by N. frontalis, although an interaction between drying and leaf-blade cut-length was noted. Removal of the lag phase and the use of un-autoclaved substrates are important when considering the biotechnological potential of anaerobic fungi. A hypothesis based upon sporulation at cut surfaces is proposed to describe the experimental results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1774
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2020


  • Fermentation kinetics
  • Gas production
  • Neocallimastigomycota
  • Neocallimastix frontalis
  • Perennial ryegrass


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