Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version

February 1996


Published in Crop Sci. 36:169-175 (1996). Copyright Crop Science Society of America, Inc. Used by permission.


Digestion-resistant tissues found in C4 grasses may allow soluble protein to escape rumen degradation. The objective of this study was to use immunofluorescent localization to follow loss of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBPCase) from switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman) parenchyma bundle sheath cells (BSC) during rumen degradation. Fluorescent signal was observed from switchgrass and big bluestem BSC through 24 and 16 h in situ digestion, respectively, and from BSC associated with both intact tissue fragments, and isolated vascular bundles in omasal digesta and fecal material from steers (Bos tarus L.) grazing switchgrass. Immunofluorescent localization demonstrated that in certain C4 grasses (i) parenchyma BSC can protect RuBPCase from degradation through 24-h in situ incubation, (ii) BSC containing RuBPCase can exit the rumen prior to degradation, and (iii) protein protected by BSC can escape degradation in the whole gastrointestinal tract and be excreted.