Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Docs » James Russell

James Russell
headline bar
Selected ReviewsRecent PublicationsCurriculum Vitae

pict of jim russell

James B. Russell
Phone: (607) 279-7234
Fax: (607) 255-3904

The New York Dairy Forage Research Cluster is a component of ARS National Program 101-Food Animal Production and has a mission is to manipulate ruminal fermentations so the feed efficiency of cattle is enhanced, environmental impacts are minimized and consumers have an inexpensive and safe food supply. The New York Cluster is part of the Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research Unit in Ithaca, is affiliated with the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison, WI and has cooperative programs with Cornell University.


The program was established in 1981, and it has developed novel concepts and products and disproved pre-existing theories:

  1. a mechanistic model of ruminal fermentation that improves the ability of farmers to formulate more efficient rations
  2. the discovery that switching cattle from grain-based rations to hay for only five days can decrease total E. coli , eliminate acid-resistant E. coli, and decrease O157:H7 shedding from cattle
  3. an inexpensive and safe carbonate-based manure treatment that eliminate E. coli and other pathogens
  4. the discovery that sterilized ruminal fluid can significantly improve the growth and health of new-borne dairy calves
  5. demonstration that fermentation acid toxicity of bacteria is caused by different patterns of intracellular pH regulation
  6. the isolation of previously unrecognized species of ruminal bacteria
  7. the manipulation of ruminal ecology to decrease fermentation losses

Current research is aimed at developing an alternative to antibiotics. Cattle use ruminal fermentation products for much of their nutrition, but methane and ammonia are also produced.  Cattle are fed antibiotics to decrease these fermentation losses, but the use of antibiotics in animal feed has been criticized.  However, some ruminal bacteria produce bacteriocins, and these peptides are also able to decrease fermentation losses.   Many bacteria can become resistance to bacteriocins, but the same bacteria to not become resistant to bovicin HC5, a bacteriocin be isolated and purified from Streptococcus bovis.  Because bovicin HC5 has a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity, it could have other applications (food preservation, industrial fermentations and human disease treatment).