Submitted to: Recent Research Developments in Gastrointestinal Microbiology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Cattle and other ruminant animals have bacteria and fungi in their rumen that digest the fiber and produce nutrients that the animals use for growth and milk production. The bacteria and that digest cellulose, the major component of plant fiber, interact with one another -- and with bacteria that do not digest fiber -- in various ways, including competition and cooperation. Even though less than 5% of the population of the rumen are active cellulose degraders, these organisms still play an essential role in animal nutrition. As the first comprehensive summary of interactions among cellulolytic bacteria, noncellulolutic bacteria, and cellelolytic fungi in the rumen, this book chapter will provide scientists with an understanding of fiber digestion in the rumen, and with a means to compare the properties sof the rumen microorganisms with those in other gut environments.
Technical Abstract: Ruminal cellulolytic bacteria and fungi perform the essential role of converting plant fiber not directly utilizable by humans as a food source into energy and chemical compounds utilizable by ruminant animals. The process of fiber digestion is mediated by a complex set of biochemical reactions whose rates and fluxes are determined in large measure by the interactions of the different cellulolytic species with one another and with the much more massive and abundant populations of noncellulolytic cohabitants.