Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Metagenomics

pp 1-11

Date: Latest Version

Diversity of Microbiomes in Beef Cattle

  • Lisa DursoAffiliated withAgroecosystem Management Research Unit, US Department of Agriculture, University Of Nebraska Email author 
  • , James E. WellsAffiliated withMeat Animal Research Center, USDA, Agricultural Research Service
  • , Min Seok KimAffiliated withMeat Safety & Quality Research, USDA Agricultural Research Service


Whole-genome sequencing and metagenomic sequencing


A microbiome refers to an assemblage of microorganisms associated with a specific habitat or niche.


Microbes are minute single-cell life-forms common to most habitats on Earth. Animals harbor microbes on and within their body, and these microorganisms can influence health and well-being of the animal host. Microbes can reside on the skin, in the airways, in the reproductive tracts, and in the digestive tract of mammals. The hosts have developed symbiotic relationships with these microbes in the gastrointestinal tract that can influence nutrient availability to the host and are an important part of normal function. In particular, ruminant animals have evolved to exploit a symbiotic relationship with microbes that allows the digestion of complex fibrous biomass in their rumen, a pregastric chamber of their gastrointestinal tract.

Collectively, the microbes in an ecosystem consist of bacterial, archaeal, protozo ...

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