Rumen microbial ecology in reindeer - Adaptations to a unique diet

M. A. Sundset, I. K.O. Cann, S. D. Mathiesen, R. I. Mackie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Svalbard reindeer are isolated on the high-arctic archipelago of Svalbard under austere nutritional conditions, while the semi-domesticated Norwegian reindeer migrate between lush coastal summer pastures and inland taiga and boreal forest habitats with ground lichens in winter on mainland Norway. We propose that interactions between reindeer and Arctic plants through 15 million years of evolution have resulted in a unique rumen microbial ecosystem, and present data on rumen bacterial diversity analysed by PCR amplification and sequencing of 16S rDNA clone libraries from these sub-species of reindeer. Resulting sequences represent novel bacteria different from those reported in other ruminants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-720
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Animal and Feed Sciences
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2004


  • 16s rDNA clone libraries
  • Bacteria
  • Plant-herbivore interactions
  • Reindeer
  • Rumen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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