Chapter 4.4.3 : Animal Gut Microbiomes

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Any organism with a gut system will make use of microbes to enable the most efficient digestion of food that it ingests. The gut microbiota is a complex community of many different bacteria, archaea, viruses and lower eukaryotes that are required to act in unison to break down a wide variety of foodstuffs and even associated toxins (see below) to maintain the health of their host. The structure of this microbial community is influenced by many factors, including host (immune) response to the non-host cells, food intake and interactions between and competition within the members of the microbiota themselves. Understanding these interactions and the processes that lead to the establishment of a stable gut microbiota is a rapidly expanding area of microbial ecology. Whilst initially focused on understanding the human gut microbiota, researchers are now turning to the study of animal gut microbiota, and in particular those animals that we rely on for food, such as ruminant livestock (cattle and sheep) and poultry.

Citation: Ellis R, McSweeney C. 2016. Animal Gut Microbiomes, p 4.4.3-1-4.4.3-7. In Yates M, Nakatsu C, Miller R, Pillai S (ed), Manual of Environmental Microbiology, Fourth Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818821.ch4.4.3
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