Comparisons of ruminal fermentation characteristics and microbial populations in bison and cattlet

Gene Towne, T. G. Nagaraja, R. C. Cochran, D. L. Harmon, C. E. Owensby, D. W. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Ruminal microbial populations, fermentation characteristics, digestibility, and liquid flow rates in two ruminally cannulated bison and two ruminally cannulated Hereford steers fed a prairie hay diet were compared. No significant differences in anaerobic bacterial counts, volatile fatty acid concentrations, or ruminal pHs were evident between bison and cattle. Also, no significant differences in neutral detergent fiber digestibility, indigestible fiber retention time, or intake were detected between bison and cattle, although cattle had higher levels (P < 0.08) of ruminal dry matter and indigestible fiber than bison. Bison had a smaller (P = 0.02) ruminoreticular volume, faster liquid dilution rates, and faster liquid turnover times than cattle. The average ruminal ammonia nitrogen concentration was higher (P = 0.02) in bison (1.17 mg/dl) than in cattle (0.79 mg/dl). Total ciliate protozoal counts and cell volume were greater (P = 0.07) in bison (32.8 x 104/g and 407.1 × 10-4ml/g, respectively) than in cattle (15.7 × 104/g and 162.2 × 10-4 ml/g, respectively). Bison harbored higher (P < 0.02) numbers of Dasytricha spp., Eudiplodinium maggii, Eudiplodinium bursa, and Epidinium spp. than cattle and possessed a type B protozoan population. The cattle possessed a mixed type A-type B population that was characterized by Ophryoscolex spp. and Polyplastron spp. in association with low concentrations of Epidinium spp. and Eudiplodinium maggii.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2510-2514
Number of pages5
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparisons of ruminal fermentation characteristics and microbial populations in bison and cattlet'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this