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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #312895

Title: The microbial composition and metabolic potential of the ovine rumen

item Li, Robert

Submitted to: Metagenomics Analysis Server, MG-RAST
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2015
Publication Date: 3/21/2015
Citation: Li, R.W. 2015. The microbial composition and metabolic potential of the ovine rumen. Metagenomics Analysis Server, MG-RAST. Accession numbers 4552886.3-4552888.3, 4552952.3-4552965.3, 4552985.3-4552986.3, 4553942.3-4553951.3, 4554052.3-4554061.3.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The rumen is efficient at biotransforming nitroaromatic explosive compounds, such as TNT, RDX, and HMX, which have been used widely in US military munitions. These compounds are present in > 4,000 military items, from large bombs to very small igniters. However, their manufacturing processes have generated significant amounts of contaminated wastewater. RDX is a potential carcinogen that causes a broad range of negative effects in humans and animals, including convulsions, loss of consciousness, vomiting, and skin lesions. Moreover, RDX in contaminated soil is mobile, and it can seep into surface water and even groundwater. The unique chemical structure of RDX makes it recalcitrant to chemical and biological degradation, and therefore it is very difficult to eliminate from contaminated environments. Compared to other microbial ecosystems, such as soil and groundwater, the rumen is capable of rapid degradation of RDX, in an in situ manner. Greater than 98% of RDX is biotransformed from its initial concentration of 25 µg/µl within four hours of incubation. In this study, we characterized the microbial composition of the ovine rumen microbiome. The relative abundance of genes associated with RDX degradation in the rumen was systematically surveyed. Furthermore, we investigated the metabolic potential of RDX degradation in the ovine rumen using metagenomic approaches.