Nikola Palevich

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2016
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Comparative genomics of Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio from the rumen

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ruminant livestock in New Zealand are farmed in pasture-based systems and obtain their energy via fermentation of plant fibre in their rumens. Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio are important rumen bacteria involved in degradation of plant fibre, particularly the hemicellulose component. To investigate their contribution to hemicellulose degradation in New Zealand ruminants, Mr Palevich sequenced the genomes of forty Butyrivibrio and six Pseudobutyrivibrio strains isolated from dairy cows. These genome sequences were used to compare those genes encoding plant fibre-degrading enzymes and showed which genes were conserved and which genes varied between the Butyrivibrio and Pseudobutyrivibrio species. He also demonstrated the importance of symbiotic interactions between individual species of Butyrivibrio during degradation of plant fibre. His research provides valuable insight into the biology of these important rumen bacteria and contributes to our understanding of plant fibre digestion and how productivity in ruminant animals can be maximised on forages.

Professor Jasna Rakonjac
Dr Graeme Attwood
Dr Bill Kelly