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Engineering optimal livestock microbiomes

Cows eating hay © Image by skeeze from Pixabay

The human population is predicted to reach approximately 9.7 billion by 2050. Consequently, ensuring future food availability, safety and nutritional content is crucial. Gastrointestinal tract microbiomes of livestock animals play a crucial role in processing dietary components and providing the host with the necessary nutrients for growth. Recently, the terminology of the holobiont (the host and its microbiota) has been introduced in recognition of the importance of the interactions between the host and its microbiota and their influence on host phenotype, and the need to consider them as one unit.

Whilst livestock holobionts have evolved over millennia, this is often does not result in increased food availability through enhanced production, as the GI tract microbes prioritise their own nutrition before the nutrition of the host.  This means that feed conversion is often sub-optimal and therefore understanding what is the ‘best’ microbiome from a production perspective, and biotic and abiotic factors which govern microbiome composition, are key to our ability to feed the human population in the future.

We cordially invite research and review papers in this new Animal Microbiome journal series, focused on progress in the area of engineering optimal livestock microbiomes.

For more information on how to submit your work to this series, please consult the journal's Submission guidelines.

Submission deadline: March 31, 2020.

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