Submitted to: Proceedings of International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/1995
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The rumen is a key organ determining the responses of ruminants to variations in diets and feeding situations. To optimize ruminal digestion it is first necessary to describe with mathematical equations the responses of this organ to diets. Aspects of ruminal digestion associated with digestion efficiency, such as feed attributes, microbial activity, and retention time in the rumen were reviewed. Factors affecting microbial proteolysis and growth, lipid digestion, volatile fatty acid production and absorption, ruminal gas production, ammonia production and losses, and rumen fiber requirements were discussed. Existing models of ruminal response to diets were evaluated and recommendations for future progress were made. The advantages and drawbacks of these empirical or mechanistic models were compared as well as their ability to be incorporated into a process of optimizing ruminal fermentation to enhance the performance of the whole animal.