Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Characteristics of Ruminal Microbial Community: Evolutionary and Ecological Perspectives

Version 1 : Received: 23 December 2020 / Approved: 24 December 2020 / Online: 24 December 2020 (13:58:40 CET)

How to cite: Patra, A.K. Characteristics of Ruminal Microbial Community: Evolutionary and Ecological Perspectives. Preprints 2020, 2020120628. Patra, A.K. Characteristics of Ruminal Microbial Community: Evolutionary and Ecological Perspectives. Preprints 2020, 2020120628.


Ruminants perhaps appeared about 50 million years ago (Ma). Five ruminant families had been extinct and about 200 species in 6 ruminant families are living today. The first ruminant family probably was small omnivore without functional ruminal microbiota to digest fiber. Subsequently, other ruminant families evolved around 18-23 Ma along with woodlands and grasslands. Probably, ruminants started to consume selective and highly nutritious plant leaves and grasses similar to concentrates. By 5-11 Ma, grasslands expanded and some ruminants used more grass in their diets with comparatively low nutritive values and high fibers. Historically, humans have domesticated 9 ruminant species that are mostly utilizer of low quality forages for human benefits. Thus, the non-functional rumen microbiota to predominantly concentrate fermenting microbiota, followed by predominantly fiber digesting microbiota had evolved for mutual complementary benefits of holobiont over the million years. The core microbiome of ruminant species seems the resultant of hologenome interaction in an evolutionary unit. The inertia and resilience properties of ruminal ecosystem seem to be due to this core microbiota, which makes the ecosystem most stable in response to perturbations because this core microbiota has evolutionary advantages with logically more generalists (i.e., wide metabolic versatile and redundancy). Also, a part of the ruminal microbiome shows highly plasticity, which is likely useful for evolutionary adaptability of holobiont. This review discusses ecological characteristics of ruminal microbial community in evolutionary perspectives. The updated understanding of ecological traits of ruminal microbiome would be helpful to better modulate the ruminal fermentation favorably for human benefits.


Ecology; evolution; hologenome; microbiome; rumen


Biology and Life Sciences, Anatomy and Physiology

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