Rumen Microbes

Learn more about the role of the rumen and lower gut microorganisms and their impact on the host’s performance, nutrition, and health. The ruminant is a fascinating animal due to its ability to convert feed and forage into energy and microbial protein thanks to the activity of its gut microbial community: bacteria, archaea, protozoa, and fungi. This page features microbes found in the gut of ruminants.

What is a Rumen Microbiome?

The microbiome is the community of microorganisms (such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses) that exist in a particular environment. The rumen microbiome enables ruminant animals to utilize plant-derived feed sources by processing them through microbial-driven fermentation. Rumen microbes play an essential role in the initial development of the rumen, immunity, and nutritional functions of the host. The composition of the rumen microbiome can be impacted by diet, environment, health, genetics, and age of the animal and can change in response to changes outside of the rumen.

Microbes are also important for heifer feed efficiency and the cow-calf enterprise.

Check out our infographic to learn more about how rumen microbes impact heifers, feed efficiency, and maintenance requirements related to stage of production!

This infographic was created by Gabbi Martin.

This work was supported by the Tennessee Beef Promotion Board.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Phillip Myer.

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This work is supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive grant no. 2020-67015-30832 / project accession no. 1021775 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.