The Rumen and Its Microbes is a contribution to the ecology of this important microbial habitat. Relatively few microbial habitats have been subjected to a thorough quantitative ecological analysis. The rumen fermentation is peculiarly suitable because of its relatively constant and continuous nature and because of the very rapid rates of conversion of organic matter. Although analysis of the ruminant-microbe symbiosis is still far from complete, knowledge is sufficient for formulation of principles and for identification and measurement of important parameters. The first eight chapters of the book include a description of the rumen and its microbes, their activities, and the extent of these activities. This basic biology provides a framework in which applications to agriculture can be evaluated. These applications are discussed in the last four chapters: host metabolism, variation in the rumen, possible practical applications, and abnormalities in rumen function.
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