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News Article

Draft microbial genomes assembled from cow rumen


Most of the genomes represent previously unsequenced strains, species

Research examining the genetic composition of the microorganisms in the rumen of cows may help improve the efficiency of food digestion by farmed ruminants, according to a study published in Nature Communications, and carried out by the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and Scotland’s Rural College in collaboration with the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen.

According to the authors of the study, it is important that we understand the structure and function of the rumen microbiome as it is responsible for the extraction of energy and nutrients from the range of diets fed to farmed ruminants. The rumen environment is presently undercharacterised, containing many microbial species and strains that have not been cultured; very few rumen microbial genomes are available in the public databases.

The study describes 913 draft bacterial and archaeal genomes assembled from sequence data derived from 43 Scottish cattle, using both metagenomic binning and Hi-C-based proximity-guided assembly. According to the authors, the addition of these genomes will improve our ability to quantify the taxonomic structure of the rumen microbiome.

Many of the genomes encode novel enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, which have potential use in the biofuels and biotechnology industries. Further examination of some of the less characterised genomes led to the identification of 31 genomes from the order Erysipelotrichales, members of which are thought to play an important role in animal physiology and disease.

The resulting dataset, according to the authors, improves the coverage of rumen microbial genomes in the public databases and is a valuable resource for biomass-degrading enzymes and studies of the rumen microbiome.

Assembly of 913 microbial genomes from metagenomic sequencing of the cow rumen. Stewart RD, Auffret MD, Warr A, Wiser AH, Press MO, Langford KW, Liachko I, Snelling TJ, Dewhurst RJ, Walker AW, Roehe R, Watson M. Nature Communications (2018) 9: Article number 870, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03317-6 (open access)

Article details

  • Date
  • 07 March 2018
  • Source
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Subject(s)
  • Animal nutrition