Gut microbiome colonization and development in neonatal ruminants: Strategies, prospects, and opportunities

Muhammad A. Arshad, Faiz ul Hassan, Muhammad S. Rehman, Sharon A. Huws, Yanfen Cheng, Ahmad U. Din*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Colonization and development of the gut microbiome is a crucial consideration for optimizing the health and performance of livestock animals. This is mainly attributed to the fact that dietary and management practices greatly influence the gut microbiota, subsequently leading to changes in nutrient utilization and immune response. A favorable microbiome can be implanted through dietary or management interventions of livestock animals, especially during early life. In this review, we explore all the possible factors (for example gestation, colostrum, and milk feeding, drinking water, starter feed, inoculation from healthy animals, prebiotics/probiotics, weaning time, essential oil and transgenesis), which can influence rumen microbiome colonization and development. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of potential strategies used to manipulate gut development and microbial colonization to improve the production and health of newborn calves at an early age when they are most susceptible to enteric disease. Moreover, we provide insights into possible interventions and their potential effects on rumen development and microbiota establishment. Prospects of latest techniques like transgenesis and host genetics have also been discussed regarding their potential role in modulation of rumen microbiome and subsequent effects on gut development and performance in neonatal ruminants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-895
JournalAnimal Nutrition
Issue number3
Early online date29 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Southwest Medical University (SWMU) grant No. 42-00040149 that was awarded to Dr. Ahmad Ud Din. We acknowledge the kind inputs of Dr. Tao Ma, Assistant professor, Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences during revision of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Chinese Association of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Gut development
  • Health
  • Microbial colonization
  • Performance
  • Rumen microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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