Submitted to: International Advances in Ruminant Nutrition Research in Brazil
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 7, 2011
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Beginning in the 1950s, rumen microbiology enjoyed a golden age in which the secrets of the rumen began to be teased out through the isolation of numerous new microbial species and the discovery of such important concepts as interspecies hydrogen transfer and the quantitative aspects of bacterial growth and energy metabolism. This era culminated in the development of models such as the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System, which have proven their worth to producers and are still in use today. Over the last two decades, an explosion of research activity based on the tools of molecular microbial ecology has provided tremendous insights into the diversity of the ruminal microbial community and has revealed a substantial host specificity with regard to these communities. At this point, these new methodologies have not yet had a dramatic effect on the practice of animal agriculture. However, this trend is likely to reverse now that there is renewed research emphasis on ruminal microbes for their roles as model systems for microbial ecology; as drivers of important biogeochemical processes such as carbon cycling and greenhouse gas emissions; and as sources of novel biomass-degrading enzymes.