Increasing the Flow of Protein from Ruminal Fermentation - Review -

  • Wallace, R.J. (Rowett Research Institute) ;
  • Newbold, C.J. (Rowett Research Institute) ;
  • Bequette, B.J. (Rowett Research Institute) ;
  • MacRae, J.C. (Rowett Research Institute) ;
  • Lobley, G.E. (Rowett Research Institute)
  • Published : 2001.06.01


This review summarizes some recent research into ways of improving the productivity of ruminal fermentation by increasing protein flow from the rumen and decreasing the breakdown of protein that results from the action of ruminal microorganisms. Proteinases derived from the plant seem to be of importance to the overall process of proteolysis in grazing animals. Thus, altering the expression of proteinases in grasses may be a way of improving their nutritive value for ruminants. Inhibiting rumen microbial activity in ammonia formation remains an important objective: new ways of inhibiting peptide and amino acid breakdown are described. Rumen protozoa cause much of the bacterial protein turnover which occurs in the rumen. The major impact of defaunation on N recycling in the sheep rumen is described. Alternatively, if the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis can be increased by judicious addition of certain individual amino acids, protein flow from ruminal fermentation may be increased. Proline may be a key amino acid for non-cellulolytic bacteria, while phenylalanine is important for cellulolytic species. Inhibiting rumen wall tissue breakdown appears to be an important mechanism by which the antibiotic, flavomycin, improves N retention in ruminants. A role for Fusobacterium necrophorum seems likely, and alternative methods for its regulation are required, since growth-promoting antibiotics will soon be banned in many countries.

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