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Metagenomic approaches for understanding the functional metabolic potential of methanogen communities in ruminant livestock - Department of Agriculture Ref No 01200.038

Project start date: 20 September 2012
Project end date: 26 November 2015
Publication date: 01 August 2015
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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​Many surveys continue to be undertaken with the aim of cataloguing the key microbes responsible for methane production in livestock ("who's there?"), but these studies have been unable to provide functional information to describe their behaviour in the rumen ("what are they doing?").  There is a paucity of knowledge about how the genetic potential of methanogens is expressed to support their growth and (or) methane producing activity.  By recovering, examining and comparing the genomes and gene expression profiles of rumen methanogens from Australian production systems, we have been able to reveal mechanisms that are critical for their persistence in vivo.  This information has filled a significant research gap and can now be translated into a precise focus (rather than an empirical "shotgun" approach) for development of targeted approaches for inhibition of methanogenesis in ruminants.

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Project manager: Marine Empson
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Primary researcher: CSIRO