Submitted to: Proceedings of the US Dairy Forage Research Center Information Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 16, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Plant cell walls form a large part of the diet of forage-fed animals. The US Dairy Forage Research Center is committed to answering questions that will result in increased economical and efficient utilization of forages. Among these are efforts that expand our understanding of the chemistry, biochemistry, growth and development of forages, particularly as these areas relate to forage utilization by ruminant animals. Improving forages for dairy production requires selection of plants with increased cell wall digestibility. The avenues which we take to reach this goal are varied and largely uncharted. The area has become particularly exciting and we have been able to make significant contributions over the past few years. Our efforts focus on identification of molecular mechanisms that ultimately limit cell wall digestibility. Such information clearly identifies structural limitations to wall degradation and in most cases identifies the ebiochemical process responsible. This, in turn, identifies the appropriate avenues that seem the most beneficial to pursue. This paper illustrates the types of information being sought and how this is utilized in others' research. We believe these collaborative studies provide a sound basis for the application of emerging technologies to improve plants for targeted uses.