This article describes physical processing of digesta and more detailed fermentative processes of digestion. Infor mation regarding chemical digestion of ingested feed is presented in ''Digestion and Absorption of Nutrients,'' elsewhere in this encyclopedia.[1] The information provided in this article is extracted from several textbooks on physiology of domestic animals[2-4] and a monograph on physiology of the vertebrate digestive system.[5] The total release of CH4 from domestic animals and the decay of animal wastes accounts for 30% of the total anthropogenic CH4 source. Conversion of ruminal CO2 to acetate instead of CH4 would decrease the undesirable CH4 emission associated with livestock operations and simultaneously increase the yield of gut acetate as a source of energy for the ruminant. Elimination or minimization of rumen CH4 production should be a goal of major animal nutrition research programs.

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