Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/23/2008
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Ruminal fermentation is an exergonic process that converts feedstuffs into short chain volatile fatty acids (VFA), CO2, CH4, NH3, and heat. Some of the free energy is trapped as ATP and this energy is used to drive the growth of anaerobic ruminal microorganisms. The ruminant animals absorb VFA and digest the microbial protein to obtain energy and amino acids, respectively. CH4 and NH3 represent losses of energy and nitrogen to the animal. Some ruminal microorganisms can degrade cellulose, and this attribute gives ruminant animals the ability to digest fibrous materials. The rumen is inhabited by a highly diverse population of bacteria, protozoa and fungi.