It is not only a good breeding environment and a delicious pasture, but also intestinal bacteria in animals, which makes cows “wrinkle champions”. Researchers are investigating which microbes can make cows more productive.
The study aims to improve milk production and reduce methane emissions from dairy cows. Like other ruminants, cows have a special stomach called the rumen, which houses millions of microbes. Microorganisms break down hay, fresh grass, and other hard-to-digest plant components into usable nutrients and energy. Disadvantageously, ruminants are equivalent to 100 million tons of walking methanogenic microorganisms, producing greenhouse gases continuously around the world. As a result, raising cattle has become the second major greenhouse gas emitter related to humans after rice planting.
Ben-Gurion, a biologist at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, and John Wallace, an animal scientist at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, have collaborated to study the microbial characteristics of dairy cows to see if they affect the growth rate, milk quality and quantity, and methane production. Hundreds of traits.
Microbial DNA and trait information was collected from more than 1,000 cows from 7 pastures in the UK, Italy, Sweden and Finland (bovine breeds include Holsteins and Norwegian Reds).
Researchers use machine learning to find connections between large amounts of data to understand how microbes can affect specific traits.
Although the microbiota of each cow is unique, half of the cows generally carry 512 common microorganisms. Analysis shows that 39 “core microbes” are more likely to determine the taste of milk than genes and even determine methane production.
Fabio Lima, a researcher in microbiology and milk production at the University of Illinois, says gut microbes have an amazing impact on these traits. Morgavi wants to know if other dairy breeds have the same core microbes. He also believes that some microbes that give calves a human-like "probiotic" may reduce methane production.
Lima points out that controlling the entire microbial population will be a challenge. But Wallace says, at least for now, it's clear that adding some microbes to the gut can have some effect.