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Rumen microbes play an important role in the nutrition and health status of ruminants, as well as in the production of the greenhouse gas methane. Therefore, the opportunity to survey the diversity of microbes present in rumen samples obtained from a range of locations and farming situations was identified as a priority project by the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance (the Alliance). The New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries in its support of the Alliance has provided funding for the Census which is an activity that underpins the RMG Network.

Following collection of rumen samples and associated data from a number of collaborators around the world, AgResearch will analyse the samples to produce a dataset and associated publications illustrating the diversity in rumen microbial communities worldwide. The project aims to cover a wide range of ruminant species, breeds, feeds, and locations. This can be accomplished using a global network of researchers willing to collaborate. The main criterion for sample selection is to obtain as great a diversity of samples as possible in terms of location, breed, diet and management system. There will be a greater emphasis on samples from typical farming systems; however, samples from less common systems and wild ruminants, camelids and macropods are also of interest. There should be some replicates (i.e., multiple animals for any one system and location). A number of research collaborators have already committed to this project, but the project is still interested in samples from regions so-far under-represented in the study. In particular, offers of samples from farmed ruminants in Southern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East, India, China, and South East Asia are still being sought for consideration.

Click HERE to go to the Global Rumen Census website. 

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