Content Tagged "cow rumen"
Many DOE JGI metagenomic projects focus on microbial communities in the guts of the cow, termite and even the desert locust, all known to break down plant biomass for energy. In studying these and other gut microbial communities, researchers hope to identify and isolate genes involved in plant biomass degradation, and apply them to biofuel… [Read More]
Last month I was lucky enough to visit one of the biggest genomics labs in the world. At the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, CA, huge rooms full of genome sequencing machines work 24/7 to crunch the codes that create life. And the research here, funded by the US Department of Energy, has… [Read More]
JGI director and geneticist Eddy Rubin is a pioneer in the field of “metagenomics,” the study of how the DNA in many creatures can work together to create ecosystems. Right now, he and his team are studying microbes that live in a cow’s rumen, the stomach-like organ that the animals use to break down grasses… [Read More]
The rumen is like a huge bathtub, he said, holding about 50 large soda bottles’ worth of fluid redolent with bacteria. Relying on these symbiotic microbes, cows eat up to 150 pounds of grass a day, a food inedible to most animals, including humans. Hess was after those microbial secrets, and the placid heifer was… [Read More]
In research published in Nature in 2007, Hugenholtz, along with collaborators from the California Institute of Technology and Diversa (now Verenium) Corporation, used metagenomics to detail the process by which a dry wood feeding termite, a Nasutitermes species, breaks down cellulose. They generated 62 million base pairs – a “drop in the ocean by today’s… [Read More]
Enter: the cow. If cows are good at anything, it’s digesting plant material until it turns into sugar; Dr. Rubin noted that cows have been eating grass for a few million years. That’s why Rubin’s team decided to do major genetic analysis of microbes inside the stomachs of cows. He explained that he was interested… [Read More]
Growing crops to make bio-fuel is controversial – they can take up valuable land and resources that could be used for food production and in the case of oil palms, large tracts of rainforest have been cleared to make way for this cash crop. But the second generation of bio-fuels hope to make use of… [Read More]