Effects of protease inhibitors on degradation of H-3[C-14]-casein by ruminal microorganisms Academic Article uri icon


  • Effects of various chemicals on proteolytic activity of mixed ruminal microbes was evaluated as the rate of release of trichloroacetic soluble 14C (TCAS-14C) during 15min incubation of H3[14C]-casein with ruminal fluid with or without 0.1-1 mM of the chemical. That TCAS-14C, presumed to be small peptides of H3[14C]-lysine or H3[14C]-lysine, was not further metabolized was confirmed by quantitative recovery of TCAS-14C on continued incubation. The viability of the microbial ecosystem was indicated by the rapid disappearance of TCAS-14C when 1-[14C]-leucine was similarly incubated. Synthetic protease inhibitors of serine and cysteine proteases (n-tosyl-1-lysine, chloromethyl ketone, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride, p-chloromercuribenzoate and iodoacetate) caused significant (P < .01) inhibition of proteolysis at all concentrations tested. Diphenyliodonium chloride, at 0.8 mM, resulted in a similar degree of inhibition as the most effective protease inhibitors. Inhibitors of microbial origin that inhibit cysteine and cysteine-serine protease, E-64 and leupeptin, respectively, also showed significant (P < .05) inhibitory effects at all concentrations, whereas inhibitors of aspartic proteases (pepstatin) had no inhibitory effect. Inhibitors of serine proteases, soybean trypsin inhibitor type II, also had significant (P < .05) inhibitory effects. These results confirm that protease of mixed ruminal microbes are predominantly of the cysteine and serine types. Such inhibition occurs within 2 minutes or less and, therefore, is likely a specific effect of protease inhibition. The microbial protease inhibitors E-64 and leupeptin appear potentially most useful for limiting excessive degradation of intake proteins by the ruminai microbial ecosystem.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Pineres, M., Ellis, W. C., Wu, G., & Ricke, S. C.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Pineres, MAR||Ellis, WC||Wu, G||Ricke, SC

publication date

  • February 1997