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    Physical characteristics of rumen contents in four large ruminants of different feeding type, the addax (Addax nasomaculatus), bison (Bison bison), red deer (Cervus elaphus) and moose (Alces alces).

    Clauss M, Fritz J, Bayer D, et al. 
    Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 2009 Mar; 152(3) :398-406.

    Based on morphological and physiological observations, it has been suggested that differences exist in the degree that reticuloruminal (RR) contents are stratified between various ruminant species. However, the occurrence of stratification has hardly been measured in non-domestic species. Forestomach contents of free-ranging moose (n=22) and red deer (24) shot during regular hunting procedures, and of captive (but 100% forage fed) addax (6) and bison (10) culled for commercial or management purposes were investigated. There was no difference between the species in the degree by which RR ingesta separated according to size due to buoyancy characteristics in vitro. However, RR fluid of moose was more viscous than that of the other species, and no difference in moisture content was evident between the dorsal and the ventral rumen in moose, in contrast to the other species. Hence, the RR milieu in moose appears less favourable for gas or particle separation due to buoyancy characteristics. These findings are in accord with notable differences in RR papillation between the species. In moose, particle separation is most likely restricted to the reticulum, whereas in the other species, the whole rumen may pre-sort particles in varying degrees; a possible explanation for this pattern is a hypothetically lesser saliva production and fluid throughput in moose. The results suggest that differences in RR physiology may occur across ruminant species. The RR sorting mechanism should be considered a dynamic process that is better measured by its result--the significantly smaller particle size in the distal digestive tract when compared to the RR--than by regional differences in particle size within the RR.

    Feeding Behavior
    Particle Size


    Pub Type(s)
    Journal Article Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    PubMed ID


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