why do symbiotic bacteria live in the stomach of ruminants?
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They help in digestion of cellulose.
Yes, they help in digestion of cellulose. It is because of the absence of this type of bacteria that we humans cannot digest cellulose.
Bonvines are subfamily of Bovidae family, and they utilize rumination (re-chewing food) as a mechanism of feeding. They have four stomach compartments that allow them to be successful in rumination. Of the four, rumen is special in that it contains billions of microbes that help the bovines to digest the food.
A simple look at the bovine rumen shows an incredible variety of organisms ranging from fungi, bacteria, archaea, protista, and viruses, namely bacteriophages. Their functions are to help in the breakdown of the various foods that would pass through the rumen, namely plant matter such as grasses, and its various difficult components.
The interesting thing about the microorganisms that live in the bovine rumen is that they are all somewhat dependant on each other for survival, and utilize the byproducts of one another for their own benefit.
There is currently much research involving the topic of ruminant animals and the microbes that inhabit the rumen. The conversion of rumen bacteria into efficient sources of energy and fuel is ongoing research that could potentially help put a stop to increasing fuel prices in the future.