Rumen Up

Rumen Up

Rumen Up is a Shared Cost Research Programme funded by the European Commission, under "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources" Contract No. QLK5-CT-2001-00992

New plants and plant extracts to decrease methane and nitrogenous emissions from ruminants and to alleviate nutritional stress.

A diagram showing how altered rumen fermentation decreases bloat and lactic acidosis resulting in improved animal welfare, while at the same time decreasing methane and nitrogen emissions resulting in less polution. New plant materials that act as rumen manipulating agents increase the diversity of crop plants and allow fewer chemicals and antibiotics entering the food chain.

About Rumen Up

Project Description

Description of RUMEN-UP

A collection of 500 plants and their extracts will be made from industrial and academic sources in Europe. These will include mainly foliage and fruits from species not used previously in animal feeding. Their main agronomic features and published toxicological properties will be collated.

The samples will then be tested at four EU centres for their general effects on rumen fermentation and digestion processes, covering diets typical of different parts of Europe. Specific effects on methane formation, protein metabolism, lactic acid production and bloat formation will be determined in vitro in the different centres. A small number of specimens which affect one of the target activities without damaging the overall fermentation will then be selected, based on their potential for rural and/or commercial exploitation.

They will be investigated in greater detail for their chemical composition, antimicrobial effects, dose dependence and applicability as a commercial feed additive or in sustainable agronomic systems. Palatability and toxicity of the most promising materials will be determined.

The outcome of the project will be the identification of natural products, potentially novel crops, which affect the the main processes and microbes in the rumen which cause stress nutritional stress in ruminants and cause pollution.


Background of Project 
Project Structure
Work Plan


The project will explore the potential of new plant species or plant extracts as feed additives for ruminants in order to overcome long-standing problems of animal welfare and environmental damage.

A common resource of plant materials will be created. Samples will be identified within the collection which inhibit lactic acid production, bloat, methane formation or nitrogen losses resulting from rumen fermentation. Plants suitable for agronomic exploitation and extracts which might be exploited commercially will be identified and tested further in feasibility experiments.

A successful outcome of the project will lead to new crops or plant extracts being used as feed additives, replacing synthetic additives including antibiotics, a greater diversity of plant species being used in agriculture, improved animal health and welfare, and decreased emissions into the environment of methane and nitrogen-rich animal wastes.

Sample Collection

The database of 500 samples of plants, plant extracts and related materials to be investigated in RUMEN-UP is available to download.

Project Partners

Partner 1: Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health
Prof R. John Wallace, Division of Microbiology and Immunology, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, UK Project coordinator.

Partner 2: University of Hohenheim

Partner 3: University of León

Partner 4: University of Reading

Partner 5: Alltech 

Partner 6: CRINA