The rumen microbiome: balancing food security and environmental impacts

Itzhak Mizrahi* (Corresponding Author), R John Wallace, Sarah Moraïs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Ruminants produce edible products and contribute to food security. They house a complex rumen microbial community that enables the host to digest their plant feed through microbial-mediated fermentation. However, the rumen microbiome is also responsible for the production of one of the most potent greenhouse gases, methane, and contributes about 18% of its total anthropogenic emissions. Conventional methods to lower methane production by ruminants have proved successful, but to a limited and often temporary extent. An increased understanding of the host-microbiome interactions has led to the development of new mitigation strategies. In this Review we describe the composition, ecology and metabolism of the rumen microbiome, and the impact on host physiology and the environment. We also discuss the most pertinent methane mitigation strategies that emerged to balance food security and environmental impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553–566
Number of pages14
JournalNature reviews. Microbiology
Early online date12 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge the collaborative nature of the work on the rumen microbiome by thanking the global scientific community involved in rumen microbiome research and the deciphering of its mysteries. The authors also thank E. Jami (Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, Israel) and E. A. Bayer (The Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel) for critical reading of the manuscript. Research in the authors’ laboratory was supported by grants from the European Research Council (No. 640384) to I.M. and from the Israel Science Foundation (ISF No. 1947/19) to I.M. and S.M.


  • Microbial ecology
  • Microbiome


Dive into the research topics of 'The rumen microbiome: balancing food security and environmental impacts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this