Limin Kung, Jr., Ph.D.
Why Cows Are Cool
Ruminants (e.g. cows, sheep, and deer) are metabolic marvels because of interactions with microbes in their guts. Ruminants have three forestomachs where bacteria and protozoa ferment feed. These microbes produce volatile fatty acids and microbial protein that are utilized as sources of energy and protein, respectively by the animal. In a lactating cow, the first two forestomachs, the rumen and reticulum, have a capacity of about 150 to 200 liters. Each liter of rumen fluid contains about 1011 bacteria, 106 protozoa, and 103 fungi per ml. Interestingly, ruminants are born with metabolic processes based on the primary absorption of glucose and a gastrointestinal system that is very similar to a monogastric animal (e.g., a pig). However, as the animal matures, primary metabolism shifts to an organic acid economy, based mostly on the absorption of acetic and propionic acids from the rumen. My lab conducts research in the areas of ruminant nutrition and microbiology with the goal of improving the productive efficiency of ruminants.
- Ph.D. Dairy Nutrition – Michigan State University
- M.S. Ruminant Nutrition – University of Hawaii
- B.S. Animal Science – University of Hawaii
- Megan Smith, Ph.D. student (MS degree South Dakota State University)
- Thiago da Silva, Ph.D. student, Visiting scholar from the University of Vicosa, Brazil
- Rebecca Savage, Undergraduate researcher -Science and Engineering Scholar
- Stephanie Polukis, Undergraduate researcher
- Abby Laubach, Undergraduate researcher
- 2009 American Feed Ingredient Award
- 2003 Outstanding M.S. Student Mentoring and Advising Award – UD
- 1999 Pioneer Hi-Bred Forage Award – in recognition of outstanding research and education in the area of forage production
- 1982 National Milk Producers Federation Award – in recognition of outstanding academic achievement in dairy science and devotion to the practical application of research in the dairy industry