Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Animal Nutrition and Food Science

First Advisor

Andre-Denis G. Wright


The goal of the work presented herein was to further our understanding of the rumen microbiota and microbiome of wild moose, and to use that understanding to improve other processes. The moose has adapted to eating a diet of woody browse, which is very high in fiber, but low in digestibility due to the complexity of the plant polysaccharides, and the presence of tannins, lignin, and other plant-secondary compounds. Therefore, it was hypothesized that the moose would host novel microorganisms that would be capable of a wide variety of enzymatic functions, such as improved fiber breakdown, metabolism of digestibility-reducing or toxic plant compounds, or production of functional metabolites, such as volatile fatty acids, biogenic amines, etc.

The first aim, naturally, was to identify the microorganisms present in the rumen of moose, in this case, the bacteria, archaea, and protozoa. This was done using a variety of high-throughput techniques focusing on the SSU rRNA gene (see CHAPTERS 2-5). The second aim was to culture bacteria from the rumen of the moose in order to study their biochemical capabilities (see CHAPTERS 6-7). The final aim was to apply those cultured bacterial isolates to improve other systems. Specifically, bacteria from the rumen of the moose was introduced to young lambs in order to colonize the digestive tract, speed the pace of rumen development, and improve dietary efficiency (see CHAPTER 8).



Number of Pages

320 p.