Feed Strategy - July 2018 - 39
FeedStrategy ❙ 39
is hydrogen, which archaea use to
reduce CO2 to methane.
Protozoa are known hydrogen
producers and archaea associate with
protozoa to make use of the available
hydrogen - methane production is
thus used as a hydrogen sink to try to
avoid significant drops in rumen pH.
The rumen microbial ecosystem is
diverse and rumen health and function
relies on this diversity. Rumen bacteria are probably the most well-studied
microbial group, yet it is only in the
past few years we are starting to get
a picture of the extent of the diversity
and nature rumen bacterial strains.
Less is known about protozoa, but
removal of protozoa from the rumen
environment has led to improvements
in rumen efficiency. Fungi are not
well-understood but certainly have a
critical role to play in making fibrous
plant cell wall material accessible
to rumen bacteria. Archaea are the
group that have become increasingly of interest due to their ability to
generate methane utilizing hydrogen
from the rumen environment.
Given the current political atmosphere regarding ruminant livestock
and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, archaea are starting to be
extensively researched using new
meta-omics techniques. ◼
References available on request.
Dr. Helen Warren, owner of HW Consulting, achieved her Ph.D. from Bristol University. After working in academia,
she worked for a global animal health company. She is currently chair of the British Society of Animal Science
Industry Association, a registered animal scientist and certified Cow Signals trainer.
July 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com