What is fermentation?

12/18/2020

Microbiology Nutrition gives power back to producers with nutrition done through microbiology. This is unique; this is different, but really brings things full circle to looking at the rumen as a fermentation unit.

In the dictionary, fermentation is defined as “the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence and the giving off of heat.” Basically, rumen fermentation is when microorganisms convert carbohydrates, or sugars, into lactic acid and then on to volatile fatty acids.  

Fermentors in a laboratory to fermentation vats for brewing beer all offer a parallel to what occurs in the rumen of cows. The rumen has long been nicknamed the fermentation vat, or fermentor – It is in the rumen where fermentation is taking place.

Fermentation works because of the microbiology is breaking down feeds, following the carbohydrate model to break down the bonds.(Link to carbohydrate model after next week’s blog topic).

Where there is life, something is eaten and something else is made. In the case of the rumen and microbiology, the microorganisms eat the carbohydrates in the feed that the cows are fed, and then they make something: Lactic acid, VFAs (the energy) and microbial protein (amino acids).

Microorganisms are the life in the rumen and they make nearly everything we are trying to accomplish by nutrition.

Rumen fermentation can be thrown off by mold, poor feeds, the wrong feeds, fluctuations in the ingredients, moisture variations, etcetera- There are a lot of variables on the farm and with the cows. We can control some of these variables by feeding Smartbacteria to shift the microbiome’s profile, making it more unified.  

With the high quality feeds available to cows today, if you don’t have the right microorganism it’s difficult to achieve proper fermentation and/or efficiency. One cannot do nutrition without microbiology as the foundation, they would simply be guessing - Rumen fermentation is the foundation of Microbiology Nutrition.

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