Role of the rumen microbiome (microbial species and genes) in animal performance.
The Beef & Sheep Research Centre provides optimal conditions to carry out rumen microbiome research. Techniques and protocols to take rumen microbiome samples on live and from slaughtered animals have been developed. Some of the outcomes of the research are:
- There is a link between host genetics and microbial community affecting methane emissions
- The microbial community or microbial genes can be used to predict methane emissions
- Algorithms to predict feed efficiency from the abundance of rumen genes have been developed
- Strategies are developed to include information of the rumen microbiome into breeding programmes to mitigate methane emissions and improve feed efficiency
- Substantial diet effects on the rumen microbial community and microbial genes were found
- Antimicrobial resistance genes have been identified in the rumen microbial community of phenotypically healthy animals
- The change of the rumen microbial community during the growing finishing period has been investigated
The use of the microbiome to predict animal performance is expected to have a substantial impact in future breeding programmes, nutritional intervention and husbandry to improve performance, mitigate environmental impact of animal production as well as enhancing animal health and welfare.