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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Garner, Mathew
item Gronguist, Matthew
item Russell, James

Submitted to: Current Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/23/2004
Publication Date: 9/25/2004
Citation: Garner, M.R., Gronguist, M.R., Russell, J.B. 2004. Nutritional requirements of allisonella histaminiformans, a ruminal bacterium that decarboxylates histidine and produces histamine. Current Microbiology. 49:295-299.

Interpretive Summary: Histamine is a powerful inflammatory agent that can be produced in the rumen. Tissues above the hoof are particularly sensitive to histamine, and ruminants with elevated serum histamine often have sore feet (laminitis). It had generally been assumed that lactobacilli were responsible for ruminal histamine production, but recent work indicated that a highly specialized and previously unrecognized bacterium, Allisonella histaminiformans, seemed to be more important. A. histaminiformans was readily isolated from the rumen of cattle fed commercial dairy ration, but it could not be detected in cattle fed diets consisting only of hay. The commercial dairy ration contained large amounts of alfalfa and corn silage, and water soluble silage extracts stimulated the growth of A. histaminiformans in-vitro. Although corn and alfalfa silage extracts both stimulated growth, alfalfa silage extracts were at least 8-fold more potent than corn silage extracts. Because non-ensiled alfalfa did not stimulate histamine production as much as alfalfa silage, it appears that the growth factor is a product of silage fermentation. Given the observation that foot problems are a primary reason why dairy cattle are eliminated from the milking herd, any practice that could reduce laminitis would have a positive impact on dairy cattle production.

Technical Abstract: Histamine is an inflammatory agent that contributes to bovine laminitis. Cattle fed silage containing rations often had large numbers Allisonella histaminiformans, but this obligate histidine decarboxylating (histamine producing) bacterium could not be isolated from cattle fed timothy hay. A. histaminiformans growth was stimulated by yeast extract, protein hydrolysates and water soluble extracts of alfalfa or corn silage. Extracts of alfalfa were more potent than corn silage. Because growth and histamine production were not stimulated by Casamino acids or a mixture of purified amino acids, it appeared that A. histaminiformans needed peptides for growth. The idea that A. histaminiformans requires peptides to grow is consistent with the observation that alfalfa silages often have a large amount of peptide nitrogen.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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