Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Rumen function and fermentation

Synonym(s): microbial protein synthesis

Contributor(s): Laura Tennant , Adam Dunstan-Martin

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Introduction

  • In ruminants, feed is fermented in the rumen before gastric and intestinal digestion. 
    • This process is called rumination. 
  • The rumen is essentially a fermentation vat. 
  • The rumen allows the beneficial and symbiotic rumen microbe relationship, by hosting microbial fermentation. 
  • The rumen environment is anerobic.
  • The rumen functions at 39°C, with a changeable but healthy pH of around 6.0.
  • The process of rumination and microbial fermentation produce bi-products, such as:
    • Carbon dioxide.
    • Methane.
    • Hydrogen sulphide.
  • These gases are not harmful to the ruminant but are problematic to the environment. 
  • This article outlines the processes involved in rumen function and microbial protein synthesis.

The rumen

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Rumination

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Rumen microorganisms and microbial protein synthesis

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Optimizing ruminal conditions for microbes

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The rumen microorganisms

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Ardnt C, Powell J M, Aguerre M J, Crump P M & Wattiaux M A (2015) Feed conversion efficiency in dairy cows: Repeatability, variation in digestion and metabolism of energy and nitrogen, and ruminal methanogens. J Dairy Sci 88, 3938-3950 PubMed.
  • Contreras-Govea F E, Cabrera V E, Armentano L E, Shaver R D et al (2015) Constraints for nutritional grouping in Wisconsin and Michigan dairy farms. J Dairy Sci 98, 1336-1344 PubMed.
  • Fatehi F, Krizsan S J, Gidlund H & Huhtanen P (2015) A comparison of ruminal or reticular digesta sampling as an alternative to sampling from the omasum of lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 98 (5), 3274-3283 PubMed.
  • Golder H M, Celi P, Rabiee A R & Lean I J (2014) Effects of feed additives on rumen and blood profiles during a starch and fructose challenge. J Dairy Sci 97, 985-1004 PubMed.
  • Anantasook N, Wanapat M, Cherdthong A & Gunun P (2013) Changes of Microbial Population in the Rumen of Dairy Steers as Influenced by Plant Containing Tannins and Saponins and Roughage to Concentrate Ratio. Asian Australas J Anim Sci 26 (11), 1583-1591 PubMed.
  • Schirmann K, Chapinal N, Weary D M, Heuwieser W & von Keyserlingk M A G (2012) Rumination and its relationship to feeding and lying behavior in Holstein dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 95, 3212-3217 PubMed.
  • Krausse K M & Oetzel G R (2005) Inducing Subacute Ruminal Acidosis in Lactating Dairy Cows. J Dairy Sci 88 (10), 3633-3693.

Other sources of information

  • AHDB (2014) Feeding improvement programme. [online] Available at: http://dairy.ahdb.org.uk/.
  • Grant R (2009) Stocking Density and Time Budgets. Proc. Western Dairy Management Conference. pp 7 – 17.
  • Sejrsen K, Hvelplund T & Nielsen M O (2006) Ruminant Physiology- Digestion,metabolism and impact of nutrition on gene expression, immunology and stress. Wageningen academic publishers. ISBN-10:90-76998-64-7.
  • Ungerfeld U M & Kohn R A (2006) The role of thermodynamics in the control of ruminal fermentation. Animal and avian science, University of Maryland, College park, MD USA 20742.
  • Chamberlain A T & Wilkinson J M (1996) Feeding the dairy cow, Chalcombe publications ISBN 0 94861732 2


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