Little is known about the role and impact that anaerobic fungi have on their equine host. EQUIANFUN aims to establish baseline knowledge of these fibre degrading gut organisms in equines.
EQUIANFUN is an EU funded personal Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (building on the core skills base of Dr Joan E. Edwards) that broadens the current equine research portfolio of the Centre of Animal Nutrition: enabling the inter-relationships between gut microbiota and equine nutrition, health and welfare to be specifically explored.
EQUIANFUN is a 2.5 year multi-disciplinary project that will establish new baseline knowledge about anaerobic fungi in the equine hindgut:
(a) The taxonomy of equine anaerobic fungi will be determined and compared to those previously described in ruminants.
(b) The physiological characteristics of equine anaerobic fungi will be determined, and compared to ruminal anaerobic fungal type strains.
(c) The effect of equine host species on anaerobic fungal hindgut ecology will be assessed.
(d) The nutritional impact of anaerobic fungi in terms of feed degradation will be evaluated using an in vitro equine hindgut model.
EQUIANFUN will generate new insights into equine anaerobic fungi, and facilitate the development of future strategies to maximise the fibre degrading capacity of the equine gut microbiota.
The project utilises internationally leading expertise and facilities at the Laboratory of Microbiology (MIB) at Wageningen University & Research (WUR, the Netherlands), the Animal Nutrition (ANU) group at WUR, the Nutrition Division and Equine Clinic of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences at Utrecht University (UU, the Netherlands) and the Donkey Sanctuary (DS) (Sidmouth, UK).
The multidisciplinary project team includes: Dr Joan E. Edwards (WU-MIB), Prof Hauke Smidt (WU-MIB), Dr Jan Dijkstra (WU-ANU), Dr Wilbert Pellikaan (WU-ANU), Dr David van Doorn (UU), Dr Henk Everts (UU) and Dr Faith Burden (DS).