Dr. Soumya Kanti KAR
Soumya is a member of the think tank committee working to establish a microbiome research facility at the (inter)national level in the Netherlands.
He is currently leading several microbiome projects, including research projects on the rumen microbiome and methane emission.
He conducts this research as part of the research activities in support of the policy of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and in collaboration with other stakeholders in the sector, including private partners.
In addition, Soumya is one of the pioneers in the development and use of organoids in livestock research. Organoids are an innovative cell culture-based in vitro tool that can refine and reduce the use of animals in experiments. He has been instrumental in initiating and building livestock based organoid research infrastructure at Wageningen University & Research. He and his team work tirelessly to advance scientific knowledge and understanding of the utility of organoids as a research tool in livestock research.
Soumya’s main research interest is in digestive physiology, particularly in farm animals. Through his research activities, he uncovers the complexity of the digestive process. He strives to better understand the factors that influence digestive processes in relation to feed technology, feed composition and feeding strategies, and gut function in response to various nutritional interventions. He and his team are contributing to some of today’s livestock challenges through their research activities. These include research into alternative protein sources, alternative to veterinary antimicrobials and alternative to animal testing; animal welfare and health, and climate-neutral livestock farming.
The Netherlands 🇳🇱
Leveraging rumen microbiome
The rumen microbiome, a complex microbial ecosystem residing within the specialized stomach compartment of ruminants, plays a critical role in digestion and overall animal health.
Comprising a diverse array of a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, and protozoa, the rumen microbiome exhibits intricate inter-species relationships that contribute to the breakdown of complex plant-based substrates such as cellulose and hemicellulose into absorbable nutrients.
This microbial community is involved in the production of volatile fatty acids and other metabolites that serve as important energy sources for the host. During fermentation of the ingested feed, methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is released as a byproduct of microbial activity.
Advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies have revealed the complexity of the rumen microbiome, showing that it responds to diet composition, host genetics, and environmental factors.
Furthermore, perturbations in the balance of this microbial consortium can lead to digestive disorders and reduced feed conversion in ruminants.
Consequently, researchers are exploring strategies to modulate the rumen microbiome through feed formulation, genetic selection, and the use of feed additives to increase animal productivity and reduce environmental impact. Using relevant results obtained in various projects at Wageningen Livestock Research, this presentation will provide an overview of current research practices to understand the composition of the rumen microbiome and its impact on methane production and host health.