Effects of the ionophores monensin and tetronasin on simulated development of ruminal lactic acidosis in vitro

C J Newbold, R J Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


A continuous coculture of four ruminal bacteria, Megasphaera elsdenii, Selenomonas ruminantium, Streptococcus bovis, and Lactobacillus sp. strain LB17, was used to study the effects of the ionophores monensin and tetronasin on the changes in ruminal microbial ecology that occur during the onset of lactic acidosis. In control incubations, the system simulated the development of lactic acidosis in vivo, with an initial overgrowth of S. bovis when an excess of glucose was added to the fermentor. Lactobacillus sp. strain LB17 subsequently became dominant as pH fell and lactate concentration rose. Both ionophores were able to prevent the accumulation of lactic acid and maintain a healthy non-lactate-producing bacterial population when added at the same time as an excess of glucose. Tetronasin was more potent in this respect than monensin. When tetronasin was added to the culture 24 h after glucose, the proliferation of lactobacilli was reversed and a non-lactate-producing bacterial population developed, with an associated drop in lactate concentration in the fermentor. Rises in culture pH and volatile fatty acid concentrations accompanied these changes. Monensin was unable to suppress the growth of lactobacilli; therefore, in contrast to tetronasin, monensin added 24 h after the addition of glucose failed to reverse the acidosis. Numbers of lactobacilli and lactate concentrations remained high, whereas pH and volatile fatty acid concentrations were low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2981-5
Number of pages5
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPrint publication - Dec 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Acidosis, Lactic/metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Furans/pharmacology
  • Glucose/metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lactates/metabolism
  • Lactic Acid
  • Monensin/pharmacology
  • Rumen/drug effects
  • Sheep


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of the ionophores monensin and tetronasin on simulated development of ruminal lactic acidosis in vitro'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this