Rumen Manipulation to Improve Animal Productivity

  • Santra, A. (Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Karim, S.A. (Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute)
  • Published : 2003.05.01


Anaerobic rumen microorganisms mainly bacteria, protozoa and fungi degrade ligno-cellulosic feeds consumed by the ruminants. The ruminants in developing countries are predominantly maintained on low grade roughage and grazing on degraded range land resulting in their poor nutrient utilization and productivity. Hence, manipulation of rumen fermentation was tried during last two decades to optimize ruminal fermentation for improving nutrient utilization and productivity of the animals. Modification of rumen microbial composition and their activity was attempted by using chemical additives those selectively effect rumen microbes, introduction of naturally occurring or genetically modified foreign microbes into the rumen and genetically manipulation of existing microbes in the rumen ecosystem. Accordingly, rumen protozoa were eliminated by defaunation for reducing ruminal methane production and increasing protein outflow in the intestine, resulting in improve growth and feed conversion efficiency of the animals. Further, Interspecies trans-inoculation of rumen microbes was also successfully used for annulment of dietary toxic factor. Additionally, probiotics of bacterial and yeast origin have been used in animal feeding to stabilize rumen fermentation, reduced incidence of diarrhoea and thus improving growth and feed conversion efficiency of young stalk. It is envisaged that genetic manipulation of rumen microorganisms has enormous research potential in developing countries. In view of feed resource availability more emphasis has to be given for manipulating rumen fermentation to increase cellulolytic activity for efficient utilization of low grade roughage.


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