Efficiency of food conversion
In this CAL the important issue in regard
to food conversion efficiency relates to the production of propionate in
the reticulo-rumen, the factors that affect it, and the utilization of
propionate in the liver of the host ruminant. First you must remember that
methanogens alter the pattern of fermentation of some organisms with which
they live in syntrophic relationships so as to reduce succinate production.
Succinate is a substrate for production of propionate in some other microorganisms.
Propionate is an important gluconeogenic substrate in the liver of the
host. This means that a reduction in propionate production places
increased demands on the use of amino acids for gluconeogenesis in the
host liver and kidney cortex. This reduces the availability of amino acids
for protein production in host tissues such as muscle. From this
it is clear that abundant growth of methanogens in the reticulo-rumen causes
reduced food conversion efficiency in the host. The effect can be
clearly demonstrated in controlled feeding trials and is one of the reasons
for Agribusiness interest in Methanogenesis.