DNA Study of Cow Stomachs Could Aid Meat and Dairy Production
(The Roslin Institute) Meat and milk production from cattle could one day be boosted, thanks to analysis of microbes in cows’ stomachs. — Beef and dairy cattle, and other milk-producing ruminants, provide food and nutrition to billions of people worldwide. Understanding how these animals convert plant-based diets into energy will be vital for securing the future of the world’s food supplies.
A study led by The Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) paves the way for research to understand which types of microbe – such as bacteria – are best at helping cattle to extract energy from their food, experts say. It also identifies enzymes that are specialised for breaking down plant material, which could help in the quest to develop new biofuels.
Most of the microbes uncovered have never been seen before and may have potential uses in the biofuels and biotechnology industries. By analysing their genetic information, the team pinpointed previously unknown enzymes that can extract energy and nutrition from plant material.
The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, was carried out in collaboration with experts at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and The Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen. READ MORE Abstract (Nature Communications)
Award winning Scottish research could pave the way for ‘low-emission cattle’ (The Roslin Institute)