Rumen Microbiology and Its Role In Ruminant Nutrition

About the book

More than 35 years ago, Robert Hungate published The Rumen and Its Microbes. This book forecast the ability anaerobic bacteria to transfer reducing equivalents (a dominant theme in many microbial habitats), and it was read by a much wider audience than the title dictated. Hungate had little formal training in nutrition, animal science or veterinary medicine, but he made sure that the rumen and animal were well described. The Rumen and Its Microbes remained in press for approximately 30 years. In the 1990's, Dr. Hungate stated that he had never contemplated writing a second edition. The book was a "classic," and it did not need a follow up. His only reservation about book was that it needed "a better index."

The Rumen and Its Microbes and the following book have some similarities, but the goals are distinctly different. Hungate summarized the most of research on rumen microbiology, but the field has expanded significantly. In recent years, a variety of edited books have been published, and many of them are referenced herein. Edited books are useful tools for people with a background, but they are generally too advanced for beginning students or people that simply want an overview. Rumen Microbiology and Its Role in Ruminant Nutrition is aimed at this latter audience.

Get the book

After the passing of Dr. James B. Russell in September 20, 2009, the USDA-ARS released his classic textbook with the following terms of use:  users agree to the following terms of use: users of this material are requested to indicate the availability of the PDF through the USDA-ARS website and to acknowledge the source of material used as follows: 

J.B. Russell, Rumen Microbiology and Its Role in Ruminant Nutrition, copyright James B. Russell, 2002. Used with permission of the James B. Russell Trust. Available at 

USDA-ARS Disclaimer. The material presented in the book is based on Dr. Russell’s knowledge of the fields of microbiology and ruminant nutrition at the time the book was written.  Users of this information shall not hold the US Department of Agriculture, or the estate and/or heirs of Dr. Russell, liable for any or all damage, loss or unforeseen outcomes resulting from use of this information either alone or in combination with any other information. Mention of specific commercial products is for informational use only and does not constitute an endorsement or warranty over similar products, which may also be suitable.


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