From the simultaneous accumulation of hydrogenation intermediates and the disappearance of Isotricha prostoma after algae supplementation, we suggested a role of this ciliate and/or its associated bacteria in rumen biohydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids. The experiments described here evaluated the role of I. prostoma and/or its associated endogenous and exogenous bacteria in rumen biohydrogenation of C18:2n-6 and its main intermediates CLA c9t11 and C18:1t11. Fractions of I. prostoma and associated bacteria, obtained by sedimentation of rumen fluid sampled from a monofaunated sheep, were used untreated, treated with antibiotics or sonicated to discriminate between the activity of I. prostoma and its associated bacteria, the protozoan or the bacteria, respectively. Incubations were performed in triplicate during 6 h with unesterified C18:2n-6, CLA c9t11 or C18:1t11 (400 μg/ml) and 0.1 g glucose/cellobiose (1/1, w/w). I. prostoma did not hydrogenate C18:2n-6 or its intermediates whereas bacteria associated with I. prostoma converted a limited amount of C18:2n-6 and CLA c9t11 to trans monoenes. C18:1t11 was not hydrogenated by either I. prostoma or its associated bacteria but was isomerized to C18:1c9. A phylogenetic analysis of clones originating from Butyrivibrio-specific PCR product was performed. This indicated that 71% of the clones from the endogenous and exogenous community clustered in close relationship with Lachnospira pectinoschiza. Additionally, the biohydrogenation activity of solid-associated bacteria (SAB) and liquid-associated bacteria (LAB) was examined and compared with the activity of the non-fractioned I. prostoma monofaunated rumen fluid (LAB + SAB). Both SAB and LAB were involved in rumen biohydrogenation of C18:2n-6. SAB fractions performed the full hydrogenation reaction to C18:0 while C18:1 fatty acids, predominantly C18:1t10 and C18:1t11, accumulated in the LAB fractions. SAB and LAB sequence analyses were mainly related to the genera Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio with 12% of the SAB clones closely related to the C18:0 producing B. proteoclasticus branch. In conclusion, this work suggests that I. prostoma and its associated bacteria play no role in C18:2n-6 biohydrogenation, while LAB convert C18:2n-6 to a wide range of C18:1 fatty acids and SAB produce C18:0, the end product of rumen lipid metabolism.