Rumen microbiome

The rumen is a four-chambered stomach that is found in specialized herbivores – called ruminants. Cows, sheep, goats, deer, moose, and buffalo are all examples of ruminants. Camels, llamas, and alpacas have a modified three-chambered stomach and are considered pseudo-ruminants. The four chambers are called the rumen, the reticulum (combined with the rumen in pseudo-ruminants), the omasum, and the abomasum, and each have a specialized function for digestion. Along with that function comes a specialized anatomy, and both create unique environmental conditions per chamber that recruits different microbial communities. In the main chamber, the rumen, the microbial community in a ruminant is complex, including thousands of different types of bacteria, archaea, protozoa, fungi, and viruses. All of these microorganisms interact with each other, with food in the digestive tract, and with the animal host. In particular, many of them are involved in plant fiber digestion, something the ruminant animal can’t do without its symbiotic community.

My lab focuses on understanding the players and the dynamics in the microbial universe that is the rumen, as well as in the rest of the digestive tract. I collaborate with other ruminant microbiologists, animal scientists, animal producers, and more to study when, and how, these host-microbial interactions change, and when it becomes detrimental for the ruminant host.

Related Reviews

  1. Garcia-Mazcorro, J.F., Ishaq, S.L., Rodriguez-Herrera, M.V., Garcia-Hernandez, C.A., Kawas, J.R., Nagaraja, T.G. 2019. Review: Are there indigenous Saccharomyces in the digestive tract of livestock animal species? Implications for health, nutrition and productivity traits. Animal: 1-9. Impact 2.026. Article.
  2. St-Pierre, B., Cersosimo, L.M., Ishaq, S.L., Wright, A-D.G. 2015. Toward the identification of methanogenic archaeal groups as targets of methane mitigation in livestock animals. Frontiers in Microbiology 6:776. Impact 4.165. Article.
  3. Ishaq S.L., Wright A-D.G. 2015. Terrestrial Vertebrate Animal Metagenomics, Wild Ruminants. In: Highlander, SK, Rodriguez-Valera, F, White, BA. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Metagenomics: SpringerReference. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Article.
  4. Ishaq, S.L., Wright, A-D.G. 2015. Wild Ruminants. In: Rumen Microbiology – Evolution to Revolution. AK Puniya, R Singh, DN Kamra (eds). Springer India. Pp. 37-45. Article.

Related Projects

Soil bacterial communities of wheat vary across the growing season and among dryland farming systems.

Framing the discussion of microorganisms as a facet of social equity in human health

Vinyl flooring materials inside petri dishes and seeded with house dust for experimentation

Accumulation of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate from polyvinyl chloride flooring into settled house dust and the effect on the bacterial community.

Agroecosystem resilience is modified by management system via plant–soil feedbacks

Pelleted-hay alfalfa feed increases sheep wether weight gain and rumen bacterial richness over loose-hay alfalfa feed.

Zinc amino acid supplementation alters yearling ram rumen bacterial communities but zinc sulfate supplementation does not.

An investigation into rumen fungal and protozoal diversity in three rumen fractions, during high-fiber or grain-induced sub-acute ruminal acidosis conditions, with or without active dry yeast supplementation. 

Biogeographical Differences in the Influence of Maternal Microbial Sources on the Early Successional Development of the Bovine Neonatal Gastrointestinal tract.

Ground Juniperus pinchotii and urea in supplements fed to Rambouillet ewe lambs. Part 2: Ewe lamb rumen microbial communities.

A living soil inoculum increases soil microbial diversity, crop and weed growth using soil from organic and conventional farms in northeastern Montana.

High-throughput DNA sequencing of the moose rumen from different geographical location reveals a core ruminal methanogenic archaeal diversity and a differential ciliate protozoal diversity.

Fibrolytic bacteria isolated from the rumen of North American moose (Alces alces) and their potential as a probiotic for ruminants.

Dissertation: A Comparative Analysis Of The Moose Rumen Microbiota And The Pursuit Of Improving Fibrolytic Systems

Design and validation of four new primers for next-generation sequencing to target the 18S rRNA gene of gastrointestinal ciliate protozoa.

High-throughput DNA sequencing of the ruminal bacteria from moose (Alces alces) in Vermont, Alaska, and Norway.

Insight into the bacterial gut microbiome of the North American moose (Alces alces).