To manipulate rumen microbes and rumen ecology so that plant toxin degradation can be optimized. To characterize the physiology of rumen microbes with regards to their metabolism of naturally occurring toxins found in ruminant diets.
Investigate and describe the degradation of specific plant toxins (selenium, fescue alkaloids, and nitrotoxins) by mixed populations of ruminal microbes. To identify sources of active microbial agents. Isolate and characterize these microbes, their physiology, ecology, and the mechanisms of toxin degradation. To use this information to devise strategies for the manipulation of rumen microbes to solve plant intoxication problems.