Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Cattle, sheep, goats, and buffalo have long been exploited by man for various uses, particularly for the production of milk. The common nutritional adaptation of these animals is the development of a functional rumen containing an active microbial population that converts feed materials to volatile fatty acids and microbial cell protein, which are utilized by the animal for growth and milk production. The major pathways by which feed materials are converted to compounds usable to the animal have been elucidated, and attempts have been made to alter the ruminal fermentation to maximize animal productivity. Metabolic interactions among the ruminal microflora, while complex, are reasonably well understood and have served as a model system for our understanding of the microbial ecology of anaerobic habitats. Ruminant animals are also subject to certain metabolic disorders (e.g., bloat and various plant toxicoses) in which the ruminal microflora play a role in either causing or relieving the disorder Ruminants also are subject to a variety of infections (primarily by bacteria and viruses) that can affect not only animal health, but also the quality and quantity of milk produced.