Role of live microbial feed supplements with reference to anaerobic fungi in ruminant productivity: A review

Anil K. Puniya, Abdelfattah Z. M. Salem, Sanjay Kumar, Sumit Singh Dagar, Gareth Griffith, Monica Puniya, Sreenivas R. Ravella, Nikhil Kumar, Tejpal Dhewa, Ravinder Kumar

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To keep the concept of a safe food supply to the consumers, animal feed industries world over are showing an increasing interest in the direct-fed microbials (DFM) for improved animal performance in terms of growth or productivity. This becomes all the more essential in a situation, where a number of the residues of antibiotics and/or other growth stimulants reach in milk and meat with a number of associated potential risks for the consumers. Hence, in the absence of growth stimulants, a positive manipulation of the rumen microbial ecosystem to enhance the feedstuff utilization for improved production efficiency by ruminants has become of much interest to the researchers and entrepreneurs. A few genera of live microbes (i.e., bacteria, fungi and yeasts in different types of formulations from paste to powder) are infrequently used as DFM for the domestic ruminants. These DFM products are live microbial feed supplements containing naturally occurring microbes in the rumen. Among different DFM possibilities, anaerobic rumen fungi (ARF) based additives have been found to improve ruminant productivity consistently during feeding trials. Administration of ARF during the few trials conducted, led to the increased weight gain, milk production, and total tract digestibility of feed components in ruminants. Anaerobic fungi in the rumen display very strong cell-wall degrading cellulolytic and xylanolytic activities through rhizoid development, resulting in the physical disruption of feed structure paving the way for bacterial action. Significant improvements in the fiber digestibility were found to coincide with increases in ARF in the rumen indicating their role. Most of the researches based on DFM have indicated a positive response in nutrient digestion and methane reducing potential during in vivo and/or in vitro supplementation of ARF as DFM. Therefore, DFM especially ARF will gain popularity but it is necessary that all the strains are thoroughly studied for their beneficial properties to have a confirmed ‘generally regarded as safe’ status for ruminants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-560
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Integrative Agriculture
Issue number3
Early online date16 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • anaerobic rumen fungi
  • bacterial DFM
  • direct-fed microbials
  • probiotics
  • rumen


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