Russell B. Muntifering, Ph.D

Professor, Ruminant Nutrition

Department of Animal Sciences

108 Upchurch Hall,

Auburn University, AL 36849-5415

Tel: (334) 844-1533,  Fax: 334-844-1519




B.S.: University of California at Davis (1973); Wildlife, Fisheries and Conservation Biology

M.S.: University of California at Davis (1975); Nutrition

Ph.D.: University of Arizona (1980); Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition, minor in Physiology

Discipline: Ruminant Nutrition

Courses taught: BCHE 3200 (Principles of Biochemistry), Fall and Spring semesters

Research Program:

Air Pollution Effects on Forage Quality.

Tropospheric (i.e., ground-level) ozone (O3) is the most significant phytotoxic air pollutant in the U.S., and it is transported to rural agricultural areas from urban centers. My research program is currently directed in large part toward characterization of alterations in cell-wall constituents and secondary metabolites in O3-stressed forages that have implications to the nutritional ecology of economically important ruminant animals. Understanding how elevated tropospheric O3 influences forage-based production systems is of tremendous importance to policymakers and resource managers, especially in light of recent modification by EPA of the human health-based (primary) National Ambient Air Quality Standard for O3 and interest in establishing a secondary standard based on ecological impact. Perhaps the single most significant finding from our work has been that, contrary to published reports of a protective effect of elevated CO2 against growth reduction in plants under O3 stress, rising global concentrations of CO2 projected for the first half of the 21st Century should not be expected to ameliorate the negative impact of O3 on nutritive quality of forages exposed to ambient concentrations found currently in the Northern Hemisphere, much less under elevated O3 concentrations projected for this century.

Nutrient Cycling under Grazing Livestock.

Phosphorus (P) ingested by grazing animals and returned to the environment in excreta can have detrimental effects due to possible contamination of surface and ground water resources. Another aspect of my research program deals with phosphorus cycling under grazed pasture systems; specifically, pathways and rates of movement of different chemical forms of phosphorus from animal excreta through various soil pools and back to pasture plants. Greater understanding of the contribution of grazing animals to phosphorus cycling pathways is important because, if cycling efficiency can be increased, losses can be decreased and environmental pollution can be lessened. We have recently shown that, even in the absence of opportunity to reduce mass inputs of P to soil from the grazing animal, chemical form and reactivity of environmentally relevant P fractions in animal excreta can be modified through animal and feed management to lessen and, in some instances, even favorably alter the impact of nutrient return to the environment from animal excreta.


Optimizing Productivity and Utilization of Alabama Forages.

Other research under development is oriented toward optimizing productivity of Alabama forages and their utilization by ruminant livestock, especially beef cattle. A major focus will be development of mathematical models for predicting intake and utilization of Alabama forages as a function of forage quality and level of energy supplementation with grain concentrates. Current effort is directed largely toward warm-season grassland systems characteristic of Alabama’s Black Belt physiographic region

Selected Publications

Szantoi, Z., A.H. Chappelka, R.B. Muntifering and G.L. Somers. 2007. Use of ethylenediurea (EDU) to ameliorate ozone effects on purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Environmental Pollution (In Press).

Lin, J.C., M. Nosal, R.B. Muntifering and S.V. Krupa. 2007. Alfalfa nutritive quality for ruminant livestock as influenced by ambient air quality in west-central Alberta. Environmetal Pollution 149: 99–103.

Muntifering, R.B., W.J. Manning, J.C. Lin and G.B. Robinson. 2006. Short-term exposure to ozone altered the relative feed value of an alfalfa cultivar. Environmental Pollution 140: 1–3.

Lewis, J., S. Ditchkoff, J. Lin, R. Muntifering and A.H. Chappelka. 2006. Nutritive quality of big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) and eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) exposed to tropospheric ozone. Rangeland Ecol. Mgmt. 59: 267.

Muntifering, R.B., A.H. Chappelka, J.C. Lin, D.F. Karnosky and G.L. Somers. 2006. Chemical composition and digestibility of Trifolium exposed to elevated ozone and carbon dioxide in a free-air (FACE) fumigation system. Functional Ecol. 20: 269.

Bender, J., R. Muntifering, J. Lin and H. Weigel. 2006. Growth and nutritive quality of Poa pratensis as influenced by ozone and competition. Environ. Pollution 142: 109.

Sanz, J., R.B. Muntifering, V. Bermejo, B.S. Gimeno and S. Elvira. 2005. Ozone and increased nitrogen supply effects on the yield and nutritive quality of Trifolium subterraneum. Atmospheric Environment 39: 5899.

Krupa, S.V., Muntifering, R. & Chappelka, A.H. 2004. Effects of ozone on plant nutritive quality characteristics for ruminant animals. The Botanica 54: 129 (invited contribution).

Hainze, M.T.M, R.B. Muntifering, C.W. Wood, C.A. McCall and B.H. Wood. 2003. Fecal phosphorus excretion from horses fed typical diets with and without added phytase. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 117:265.

Hainze, M.T.M., R.B. Muntifering and C.A. McCall. 2003. Fiber digestion in horses fed typical diets with and without exogenous fibrolytic enzymes. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 23:11.

Powell, M.C., R.B. Muntifering, J.C. Lin and A.H. Chappelka. 2003. Yield and quality of sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) exposed to ground-level ozone. Environ. Pollution. 122: 313.

Muntifering, R.B., D.D. Crosby, M.C. Powell and A.H. Chappelka. 2000. Yield and quality characteristics of bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) exposed to ground-level ozone. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 84: 243.

Kronberg, S.L., R.B. Muntifering and E.L. Ayers. 1993. Feed aversion learning in cattle with delayed negative consequences. J. Anim. Sci. 71: 1767.

Kronberg, S.L., R.B. Muntifering, E.L. Ayers and C.B. Marlow. 1993. Cattle avoidance of leafy spurge: A case of conditioned aversion. J. Range Mgmt. 46: 364.

Howard, M.D., R.B. Muntifering, M.M. Howard and M.G. Hayek. 1992. Effect of time and level of supplementation on intake and digestibility of low quality fescue hay by sheep. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 72:51.

Howard, M.D., R.B. Muntifering, N.W. Bradley, G.E. Mitchell, Jr. and S.R. Lowry.1992. Voluntary intake and ingestive behavior of steers grazing Johnstone or endophyte-infected Kentucky-31 tall fescue. J. Anim. Sci. 70:1227.

Hitchcock, R.A., R.B. Muntifering, N.W. Bradley, A.A. Wahab and C.T. Dougherty. 1990. Forage composition and intake by steers grazing vegetative regrowth in low endophyte tall fescue pasture. J. Anim. Sci. 68:2848.

Mahmoudzadeh, H., E. Karangwa, G.E. Mitchell, Jr., R.B. Muntifering and R.E. Tucker. 1989. Postruminal digestion of starch in the presence of phenolic monomers. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 27:111.

Loewer, O.J., K.L. Taul, L.W. Turner, N. Gay and R. Muntifering, 1987. GRAZE: A model of selective grazing by beef animals. Agric. Sys. 25:297.

Godfrey, L.D., K.V. Yeargan and R.B. Muntifering. 1987. Digestibility, protein content and nutrient yields of alfalfa stressed by selected early season insect pests and   diseases. J. Econ. Entomol. 80:257.

Bunting, L.D., M.D. Howard, R.B. Muntifering, K.A. Dawson and J.A. Boling. 1987. Effect of feeding frequency on forage fiber and nitrogen utilization in sheep. J. Anim. Sci. 64:1170.

Wedekind, K.J., R.B. Muntifering, and K.B. Barker. 1986. Effects of diet concentrate level and sodium bicarbonate on site and extent of forage fiber digestion in the gastrointestinal tract of wethers. J. Anim. Sci. 62:1388.

Miller, B.G. and R.B. Muntifering. 1985. Effect of forage:concentrate on kinetics of forage fiber digestion in vivo. J. Dairy Sci. 67:40.

Muntifering, R.B., S.I. Smith and J.A. Boling. 1984. Effect of elemental sulphur supplementation on digestibility and metabolism of early vegetative and fall-accumulated regrowth fescue hay by wethers. J. Anim. Sci. 59:1100.

Loewer, O.J., K.L. Taul, L.W. Turner, N. Gay and R.B. Muntifering. 1985. Modeling of beef-forage grazing interactions. In: Proc. XV International Grassl. Congr. Section 11. Grazing Systems, Management of Pasture and Animal Behavior, including Plant-Animal Interface Research. p. 1146. The Science Council of Japan and The Japanese Society of Grassland Science, Nishi-nasuno, Tochigi-ken (abbreviated); expanded paper published by Winrock International in 1987 as a special compendium sponsored by USDA-OICD and USDA-ARS.

Loewer, O.J., W. Butts, S.W. Coleman, L.L.Erlinger, H.W. Essig, J.P. Fontenot, N. Gay, A.C. Linnerud, C. Long, R.B. Muntifering, J. Oltjen, D.G. St. Louis, J.A. Stuedemann, K. Taul and L. Turner. 1985. Chapter IV. The Animal Component. In: V.H. Watson and C.M. Wells, Jr. (Ed.) Simulation of Forage and Beef Production in the Southern Region. So. Coop. Ser. Bull. No. 308, p. 37. Mississippi St. Univ., Starkville.

Produced by Russ Muntifering
Last update August, 2007