Lead Applicant: Benoit St-Pierre
Organization: South Dakota State University
Abstract: Bison have the ability to maintain better than domestic grazers on forage of poor quality. Since they are responsible for digesting feed, rumen symbiotic microorganisms in bison may be capable of extracting more out of plant fibers. Consistent with this hypothesis, we have determined that rumen bacterial species from bison are very different from their counterparts in domestic grazers, suggesting that they may be more metabolically efficient. In this context, the research outlined in this proposal primarily aims to use a metagenomics approach (high throughput scale sequencing of rumen microbial DNA) to elucidate the metabolic functions of bison rumen bacteria that are responsible for digesting plant fibers. Gaining a deeper understanding of how rumen bacteria from bison are better at utilizing feed is a necessary first step in developing innovative strategies to improve bison production on pasture, and may lead to other improvements in the nutritive quality of bison products.
Funding: $77,139 over 3 years