Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2012
Publication Date: 5/14/2012
Citation: Weimer, P.J. 2012. Challenges to increase the efficiency of nutrient utilization in the rumen. In: Proceedings of Zootec 2012, XIV International Congress on Animal Science, May 13-18, 2012, Cuiaba, Brazil, p. 21-46.
Technical Abstract: The metabolically diverse community of microorganisms in the rumen converts feed components to volatile fatty acids (VFA) and microbial cells that serve as energy and protein sources, respectively, for the host. These fermentations are accompanied by production of gases (methane and carbon dioxide) that represent energy and/or carbon losses from the animal. Individual processes such as fiber digestion, starch digestion, nitrogen utilization, and gas production operate at varying degrees of efficiency due to differences in the availability of nutrients and in the optimum environmental conditions for different physiological groups of microorganisms. Microbial ecological principles and the results of nutritional and microbiological studies suggest strategies likely to be successful or unsuccessful in improving the efficiency of these individual processes.