RumenPredict: predicting diet based GHG mitigating strategies in ruminants

Project

RumenPredict: predicting diet based GHG mitigating strategies in ruminants

Microorganisms inhabiting rumen of ruminants contribute to the degradation of their feed producing GHG that are released into the environment. Thus, manipulation of their diet can influence their GHG emissions.

Background

The rumen is home to a complex microbiome that includes bacteria, methanogenic archaea, anaerobic fungi and protozoa. These microbes interact with each other to ferment feed ingested by the ruminant, yielding volatile fatty acids and gases, such as CO2 and CH4. As well as these two greenhouse gases (GHG), N2O may also be produced in the environment due to significant nitrogen excretion from the animal, associated with ruminal inefficiencies. GHG emissions not only have a negative impact on the environment, but also represent animal production inefficiencies in terms of lost energy and nitrogen.

Aim

The aim of the RumenPredict project is to comprehensively characterise the diversity and function of the rumen microbiome and to link this to methane emission and nitrogen use efficiency.

Approach

Samples (rumen fluid, rumen solids and buccal swabs) from ruminants (dairy cows and cattle from diverse geographic locations and consuming different diets) showing different levels of methane emission and nitrogen use efficiency will be analysed utilising metataxonomic, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches. Key taxa and genes associated with methane release and nitrogen use efficiency will be identified, as well as the microbial interactions and mechanisms that significantly influence these processes determined.

The outcome of this research will enable the design of novel dietary strategies to mitigate GHG emissions whilst enhancing animal production efficiency, and generate valuable biomarkers that will facilitate future research and development.

Contact

Are you interested in this project? Please contact Ruth Gomez Exposito (ruth.gomezexposito@wur.nl)