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Cellulase from Ruminococcus albus and Mixed Rumen Microorganisms1

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Cellulase in the cultural filtrates of Ruminococcus albus and cellulase extracted from mixed rumen microorganisms were investigated with acid-swollen cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose as substrates. Maximal activity occurred at approximately pH 5.8 and 47 C. Apparent Michaelis constants (Km) varied between 0.53 and 0.02% carboxymethylcellulose, depending on the level of activity and the method of assay. R. albus cellulase has a lower Km value than the enzyme extracted from mixed rumen microorganisms. Antisera from rabbits immunized with a cellulase preparation from R. albus inhibited the cellulolytic activity of both systems. Based on the relative degree of inhibition, approximately 20% of the cellulase of the mixed rumen microorganisms was immunologically similar to R. albus cellulase. Ratios of activity in different assay techniques showed the two sources of activity to be similar in the mechanisms of degradation. However, glucose is the main product of cellulose degradation by mixed rumen microorganisms, and cellobiose is the product of degradation by R. albus.

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