Regulation of rumen fermentation during seasonal fluctuations in food intake of muskoxen. Academic Article uri icon


  • We studied rumen fermentation of castrated adult muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus; n=4) during periods of low (May) and high (August) food intake. Turnover time (17+/-1.8 h) and volume (26+/-3.9 L) of rumen fluid were consistent between May and August and among days within each season. Rumen temperature did not vary significantly during the day (38.8+/-0.29 degrees C) in either season. Rumen osmolality (271.9+/-16.4 vs. 245.9+/-11.4 mOsm kg(-1)) and pH (6.81+/-0.31 vs. 6.39+/-0.15) were higher in May than in August indicating a shift in the allostatic set point. Rumen fluid pH was more variable in May than in August both before and after a single meal of fermentable substrate even though fermentation acids were lower in May than in August (101.0+/-11.0 vs. 126.0+/-8.74 mM). Changing proportions of minor fermentation acids indicated a shift in metabolic pathways even though bacterial numbers were similar between seasons (6.4+/-5.8x10(9) mL(-1)). Allostatic set points probably alter the homeostatic range of conditions and the microbial diversity of fermentations in herbivores from highly seasonal environments.

published proceedings

  • Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Crater, A. R., Barboza, P. S., & Forster, R. J.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Crater, Annie R||Barboza, Perry S||Forster, Robert J