Temporal dynamics of the metabolically active rumen bacteria colonising fresh perennial ryegrass

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This study investigated successional colonisation of fresh perennial ryegrass (PRG) by the rumen microbiota over time. Fresh PRG was incubated in sacco in the rumens of three Holstein x Friesian cows over a period of 8 h, with samples recovered at various times. The diversity of attached bacteria was assessed using 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA (cDNA). Results showed that plant epiphytic communities either decreased to low relative abundances or disappeared following rumen incubation, and that temporal colonisation of the PRG by the rumen bacteria was biphasic with primary (1 & 2 h) and secondary (4-8 h) events evident with the transition period being with 2–4 h. A decrease in sequence reads pertaining to Succinivibrio spp. and increases in Pseudobutyrivibrio, Roseburia and Ruminococcus spp. (the latter all order Clostridiales) were evident during secondary colonisation. Irrespective of temporal changes, the continually high abundances of Butyrivibrio, Fibrobacter, Olsenella and Prevotella suggest that they play a major role in the degradation of the plant. It is clear that a temporal understanding of the functional roles of these, and the colonisation specific, microbiota within the rumen is now required to unravel the role of these bacteria in the ruminal degradation of fresh perennial ryegrass.


  • rumen, perennial ryegrass, bacteria, microbiome, metagenome, 16S, RNA