Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ruminant animals

Ruminant animals have evolved a capacious set of stomach that harbors microorganisms capable of digesting fibrous materials, such as cellulose.

Cellulose and the other polymers of glucose that make up plant cell walls are the most abundant carbohydrates in the world and represent a huge feed resource for organisms, which can utilize them either directly or indirectly.

This allows ruminants to eat and partly digest plants, such as grass, which have a high fiber content and low nutritional value for simple-stomached animals.

Most existing ruminants are domesticated and wild or feral animals are uncommon.

Of the 155 or so ruminant species, only about 6 – cattle, sheep, goats, buffaloes, reindeer and yaks – are domesticated and many of the undomesticated species are in danger of extinction.

Food producing animals, particularly ruminants, play a key role in converting plant products humans cannot or do not choose to consume into desirable, high quality human food.

Plant resources utilized in ruminant animal production include cereal grains, forage and silage crops, pasture and range forage, crop residues and a wide range of by-products from food processing.

The ruminant stomach is adapted for fermentation of ingested food by bacterial and protozoan microorganisms. Energy is obtained through fermentation that would not otherwise be made available.
Ruminant animals

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