This review presents the principal methods used in taxonomic studies of rumen ciliates: live observation, Lugol staining, fixation and staining with methyl-green formalin saline (MFS) solution, protargol staining, silver carbonate impregnation, scanning electron microscopy and molecular techniques. Mastering these techniques is essential for successful research on the taxonomy of rumen ciliates. No single technique reveals all of the characteristics required for a complete description of a rumen ciliate; therefore, it is necessary to combine the use of these techniques as appropriate to the rumen ciliate group under study. Tables are provided to summarize: 1) morphological methods more appropriate for revealing morphological structures of interest, 2) morphological methods indicated for each group of rumen ciliates, and 3) main primers used for PCR amplification of the 18S rDNA of rumen ciliates.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1