The bacteria of the rumen

Herbivores cannot directly absorb the vegetables they feed on, but they can through the action of the bacteria that colonise their digestive apparatus. Cattle chew vegetables for a long time and accumulate them in large amounts in the rumen, which is the first part of their stomach. In this hot, very humid place, bacteria quickly develop and attack the vegetal fibres. In so doing, the bacteria release the nutrients contained in these vegetables, which are then absorbed by the intestine. Horses do not have a rumen, but they host these precious bacteria in their long intestine.

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