Fermentation in the rumen and human large intestine

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  25 Sep 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4515, pp. 1463-1468
DOI: 10.1126/science.7280665


Fermentation of food by the microbial community of the rumen is essential for the maintenance and growth of ruminants. The microbial ecosystem and its interaction with the host are described, along with recent attempts to manipulate the composition and activity of the microbial community by adding antibiotics and other chemicals to ruminant diets. A similar microbial community and fermentation occur in the large intestine or cecum of most nonruminant animals including the large intestine of humans. The microbial ecosystems of the rumen and human large intestine are compared.