Understanding the functionality of the rumen microbiota: searching for better opportunities for rumen microbial manipulation

  • Wenlingli Qi (Key Laboratory of Dairy Cow Genetic Improvement and Milk Quality Research of Zhejiang Province, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University) ;
  • Ming-Yuan Xue (Key Laboratory of Dairy Cow Genetic Improvement and Milk Quality Research of Zhejiang Province, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University) ;
  • Ming-Hui Jia (Key Laboratory of Dairy Cow Genetic Improvement and Milk Quality Research of Zhejiang Province, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University) ;
  • Shuxian Zhang (CAS Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences) ;
  • Qiongxian Yan (CAS Key Laboratory of Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Nutritional Physiology and Metabolic Process, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences) ;
  • Hui-Zeng Sun (Key Laboratory of Dairy Cow Genetic Improvement and Milk Quality Research of Zhejiang Province, College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University)
  • Received : 2023.08.17
  • Accepted : 2023.11.03
  • Published : 2024.02.01


Rumen microbiota play a central role in the digestive process of ruminants. Their remarkable ability to break down complex plant fibers and proteins, converting them into essential organic compounds that provide animals with energy and nutrition. Research on rumen microbiota not only contributes to improving animal production performance and enhancing feed utilization efficiency but also holds the potential to reduce methane emissions and environmental impact. Nevertheless, studies on rumen microbiota face numerous challenges, including complexity, difficulties in cultivation, and obstacles in functional analysis. This review provides an overview of microbial species involved in the degradation of macromolecules, the fermentation processes, and methane production in the rumen, all based on cultivation methods. Additionally, the review introduces the applications, advantages, and limitations of emerging omics technologies such as metagenomics, meta-transcriptomics, metaproteomics, and metabolomics, in investigating the functionality of rumen microbiota. Finally, the article offers a forward-looking perspective on the new horizons and technologies in the field of rumen microbiota functional research. These emerging technologies, with continuous refinement and mutual complementation, have deepened our understanding of rumen microbiota functionality, thereby enabling effective manipulation of the rumen microbial community.



This study was supported by the National Key R&D Program Project (2022YFD1301700).


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