Studies of variation in pH and volatile fatty acid concentration within the reticulum and rumen of a grazing cow : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science
The ruminant is but one component of the great cycle of energy utilization, a cycle which derives its energy from that of the sun and enables man not only to exist but also to flourish.
The complex and comprehensive nature of the cycle does not belittle the role played by ruminants - the conversion of high fibre feedstuff of no direct value to man into a whole array of products, many of which are now
considered essential to human nutrition and welfare.
Their ability to perform this feat is attributable to the symbiotic relationship which exists between the microorganisms of the rumen and the host animal. This remarkable example of symbiosis has always elicited man's interest
even though the interest initially arose from an inherent curiosity rather than
a specific need.
However, over the last few decades the resources of workers from diverse fields of science have been directed towards an understanding of the activities within the rumen and their importance to the nutrition of the host animal. This upsurge of interest has arisen from the demand for more effiicient agricultural. production which, from the animal side, can be achieved by maximizing the effeciency with which the ingested food material. is converted to the animal
products. Inherent in this concept is the prevention and correction of the
metabolic disorders which tend to accompany the intense and unnatural exploitation
of the ruminant.