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Science of The Total Environment
Volume 800, December 2021, 149596

Amino acids metabolism by rumen microorganisms: Nutrition and ecology strategies to reduce nitrogen emissions from the inside to the outside

Peng Tana,1, Han Liub,c,1, Jing Zhaob,c,1, Xueling Guc, Xiaobing Weic, Xiaojian Zhangc, Ning Maa, Lee J. Johnstond, Yueyu Baic, Wenju Zhangb, Cunxi Nieb, Xi Maa,b

State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


For the ruminant animal industry, the emission of nitrogenous substances, such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and ammonia (NH3), not only challenges environmental sustainability but also restricts its development. The metabolism of proteins and amino acids by rumen microorganisms is a key factor affecting nitrogen (N) excretion in ruminant animals. Rumen microorganisms that affect N excretion mainly include three types: proteolytic and peptidolytic bacteria (PPB), ureolytic bacteria (UB), and hyper-ammonia-producing bacteria (HAB). Microbes residing in the rumen, however, are influenced by several complex factors, such as diet, which results in fluctuations in the rumen metabolism of proteins and amino acids and ultimately affects N emission. Combining feed nutrition strategies (including ingredient adjustment and feed additives) and ecological mitigation strategies of N2O and NH3 in industrial practice can reduce the emission of nitrogenous pollutants from the ruminant breeding industry. In this review, the characteristics of the rumen microbial community related to N metabolism in ruminants were used as the metabolic basis. Furthermore, an effective strategy to increase N utilisation efficiency in combination with nutrition and ecology was reviewed to provide an inside-out approach to reduce N emissions from ruminants.

Keywords: Ruminant, Amino acids metabolism, N emissions, Rumen microorganism, Feed nutrition, Ecology.

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