Animal Science, Department of


Date of this Version

January 1996


Published in 1996 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report; published by Agricultural Research Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Grazing and forage-fed animals depend upon the rumen microorganisms’ ability to breakdown polysaccharides present in the leaf and stems of plants. The rate and extent of this breakdown has a major impact on animal nutrition, therefore understanding the mechanics of this process offers the potential to optimize and further improve animal performance. The limited published studies to-date suggest that: 1) colonization and adherence by some rumen bacteria are specific in nature and: 2) adherence can be modified by nutrients and growth conditions, such as ruminal pH. Better understanding and future improvements of fiber digestion in the rumen will be afforded by the identification and isolation of the molecules controlling bacterial colonization and adherence.