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Micro-organisms for ruminant digestion

The 7th Session of the Intergovernmental Technical Working Group on Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITWG-AnGR) takes place on 24-26 October 2012 at FAO Headquarters, Rome. Item 6 on the provisional agenda is dedicated to "Status and trends of micro-organisms for ruminant digestion", for which a working document with the same title has been prepared. This 4-page document introduces and provides a brief summary of Background Study Paper 61, entitled "Micro-organisms and ruminant digestion: State of knowledge, trends and future prospects", by C. McSweeney and R. Mackie. The 62-page study paper provides a historical account of the progress that has been made in rumen microbiology research and gives an overview of the current understanding of the rumen microbial ecosystem. It also addresses the opportunity that new DNA sequencing technologies provide for improving productivity of livestock and the impacts of livestock production systems on the environment. See the working document (CGRFA/WG-AnGR-7/12/8, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish) and the study paper (available under 'other documents') at or contact for more information. The ITWG-AnGR is one of four intergovernmental technical working groups that have been established by the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.