Government statistics illustrate that by 2050 there will be a shortage of meat and milk due to globalpopulationgrowth and the increaseddemand from the Far East. Ensuring food security in terms of availability and nutritionalsafety is, therefore, important for our future existence. Central to achieving milk and meat security are ruminants. Ruminants have a four chambered stomach composed of the reticulum, rumen, abomasum and omasum with microbial fermentation of forage occurring in the rumen. Rumen microbial fermentation is largely responsible for animal production, ruminant product quality and much of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, when forage reaches the rumen, the rumen microbes degrade the plant cell wall and subsequently metabolise plant cell content, including plant amino acids and proteins which they convert into proteins that they can utilise. In order to ensure availability of milk and meat of the best possible quality (with the least greenhouse gas emissions) for the future, we must increase our understanding of the plant-microbe interactome using the principles of systems biology and 'omic' technology.
Ensuring future availability of ruminant products of the highest quality
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