The relationship between the cow rumen and the methanogens is an example of a mutualistic type of symbiotic relationship between organisms (Henry, 2013). This is because both organisms benefit from hosting and living in each other. The methanogens are known to aid in the production of the methane gas inside the rumen of cows, producing enzymes that aid in the digestion of some food matters as well as preventing any form of fermentation of the feed taken in by the cow and other herbivores (Applied and Environmental Microbiology). Also, the methanogens are known for aiding in the interspecies transfer of hydrogen gas between other digestive micro-organisms inside the cow’s rumen. On the other hand, methanogens get shelter inside the cow’s rumen as well as ready food. The relationship between the cows and the methanogens makes it possible for the digestion of feedstuffs that would not have been digested if they never existed (Soliva, 2003). This relationship between these two organisms where both benefits are what is referred to as a mutualistic type of the symbiotic relationship.
Henry, S M. Symbiosis. Elsevier Science, 2013. Internet resource.
The author defines symbiosis as any long-term and close relationship where two organisms of different species interact with each other. The different types of symbiotic relationship outlined include the parasitic, mutualistic and communalistic relationship. In the journal symbiotic relationship can be said to be where one or both organisms depend on the other wholly for its survival.
Long-term Monensin Supplementation Does Not Significantly Affect the Quantity or Diversity of Methanogens in the Rumen of the Lactating Dairy Cow. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, n.d.. Internet resource.
In the journal, it is stated that the symbiotic relationship between the cows and the methanogens is mutualistic relationship. Those cows that are lactating were seen to contain larger numbers of methanogens as compared to those that were not. Dairy animals too had more methanogens in their stomachs simply because they feed on much material as compared to others. Consumption of other food supplements by animals especially when lactating also contributes to the many methanogens that are found in the lactating animals.
Soliva, Carla R. Ruminal Methanogens and Their Methanogenic Activity: Response to Mixtures of Dietary Lauric and Myristic Acid and Coherences with Other Rumen Microbes. Zürich, 2003. Print.
The author identifies methanogens as living microorganisms that are not only found in the stomachs of herbivores but also in the hot and dry environments. The microorganisms are known to aid in the digestion of feedstuffs that are consumed by the cows. Also noted is among the many advantages of the microorganisms especially in the process of digestion as cows lack some enzymes that are tasked with the role of digesting specific feeds. The methanogens produce methane gas inside the cow’s rumens that plays the role of in maintains better conditions for digestion.