AgResearch is the host of the NZAGRC and is New Zealand's largest centre for pastoral agriculture research and development.

AgResearch includes teams of researchers with skills relevant to the Centre in rumen function, rumen microbiology, ruminant physiology, soil science, environmental science, agricultural systems management, forage plant growth and development, on-farm practice change, social science, technology uptake, genomics, proteomics and metabolomics of animals, plants and microorganisms.


Principal Investigator - Dr Peter Janssen

Dr Peter Janssen is the Principal Investigator of the NZAGRC-PGgRc methane mitigation programme at AgResearch, and co-ordinates and contributes to the different work streams developing technologies to reduce ruminant methane emissions. He has established methods for investigating the microbial ecology of the rumen ecosystem, and for isolating novel rumen microbes.

Peter has been involved in several global projects to increase knowledge of the rumen, most notably co-leading the Global Rumen Census project. This study demonstrated, that across a variety of diets and ruminant species, the major groups of rumen microbes around the globe are largely the same, which potentially will help for global application.

Peter is an internationally recognised expert in isolating so-called unculturable microbes.

Prior to joining AgResearch, he was an Associate Professor and Reader at the University of Melbourne, where his research team made recognised advances in solving the “Great Plate Count Anomaly”, which is "a name given to the observation that there are generally about 100 times more bacteria in a sample from any environment than can be grown on agar plates" explains Peter. While in Melbourne, Peter got to move a little outside the normal academic sphere, when he was the scientific advisor to the award-winning ABC documentary "Alien Underworld".

Peter's research work with NZAGRC and the PGgRc forms part of three different mitigation approaches - breeding low methane emitting ruminants; finding inhibitors that reduce the amount of methane formed in the rumen of grazing ruminants; and developing a vaccine so that the animal's antibodies naturally control the methane-forming microbes in the rumen.


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