Standard Article


  1. Roderick I Mackie1,
  2. Christopher S McSweeney2,
  3. Rustem I Aminov1

Published Online: 19 APR 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0000404



How to Cite

Mackie, R. I., McSweeney, C. S. and Aminov, R. I. 2001. Rumen. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Illinios at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA

  2. 2

    CSIRO Tropical Agriculture, Brisbane, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2001

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (20 SEP 2013)


The rumen is a large pregastric fermentation compartment (foregut) which maintains a diverse but concentrated population of anaerobic bacteria, protozoa and fungi that are responsible for a variety of degradative and fermentative reactions. During this process biodegradable organic matter, mainly plant cell wall polymers, are converted into volatile fatty acids and microbial biomass which supply energy and protein to the host (ruminant) animal.


  • anaerobic bacteria;
  • ciliate protozoa;
  • chytridiomycete fungi;
  • volatile fatty acids;
  • methane;
  • cellulase;
  • ammonia assimilation;
  • detoxification