A Metagenomic Analysis of the Effect of Residual Feed Intake on Rumen Metabolism

Ruminant animals have a symbiotic relationship with gastrointestinal microorganisms in the rumen where microbes degrade compounds that can be used in the host animal’s metabolism. Currently, changes in the diet or feed efficiency of the sheep results in differences to the rumen’s microbiota population. By using a metabolic approach, the effects of differing residual feed intake (RFI) on the rumen’s microbiome are analyzed to determine the network interface between the host’s metabolism and rumen microbiome. These findings demonstrate important network structure differences between low and high RFI animals providing a greater understanding of the complexities in the rumen ecosystem.