Dr. Cecil W. Forsberg

Cecil W. Forsberg
Professor Emeritus
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology


  • B.S.A - Saskatoon
  • M.Sc. - Saskatoon
  • Ph.D. - McGill


(A) Rumen Microbiology

This area of research has increased excitement because the genomes of the major ruminal bacteria have now been sequenced providing a major step in our ability to study key aspects of their metabolism.

We contributed to the sequencing and annotation of the genome of Fibrobacter succinogenes strain S85. Recent contributions have included:

  1. Proteomic characterization of the major proteins/enzymes involved in plant cell wall digestion with primary emphasis on cellulose digestion.
  2. Studies on the synergistic interactions of Fibrobacter succinogenes cellulase enzymes.
  3. Comparative genomics of the F. succinogenes and Fibrobacter intestinalis by both forward and reverse suppressive subtractive hybridization.
  4. Application of microbial genes to enhance digestion in monogastric food animals.

This research has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Selected Fibrobacter Publications

  • Qi, M., H.-S. Jun, and C.W. Forsberg. 2008. An atypical 1,4-√ü-D-glucan glucohydrolase produced by Fibrobacter succinogenes: Characterization, site-directed mutagenesis and synergistic interactions with other cellulases. J. Bacteriol. In Press Jan 3, 2008
  • Qi, M., K.E. Nelson, S.C. Daugherty, W.C. Nelson, I.R. Hance, M. Morrison, and C.W. Forsberg. 2008. Genomic differences between Fibrobacter succinogenes S85 and Fibrobacter intestinalis DR7 identified by suppression subtractive hybridization. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. In Press Dec.13, 2007
  • Jun, H.-S., M. Qi, J. Gong, E.E. Egbosimba, and C.W. Forsberg. 2007. Outer membrane proteins of Fibrobacter succinogenes with potential roles in adhesion to cellulose and in cellulose digestion. J. Bacteriol. 189:6806-6815.
  • Qi, M., H.-S. Jun, and C.W. Forsberg. 2007. Characterization and synergistic interactions of Fibrobacter succinogenes glycoside hydrolases. Appl.Environ.Microbiol. 73: 6098-6105.
  • Qi, Meng, Nelson, Karen E., Daugherty, Sean C., Nelson, William C., Hance, Ioana R., Morrison, Mark, Forsberg, Cecil W. 2005. Novel molecular features of the fibrolytic intestinal bacterium Fibrobacter intestinalis not shared with Fibrobacter succinogenes as determined by suppressive subtractive hybridization. J. Bacteriol. 187: 3739-3751.
  • Kam, D. K., H. S. Jun, J. Ha, G. D. Inglis, and C. W. Forsberg. Characteristics of adjacent family 6 acetylxylan esterases from Fibrobacter succinogenes and the interaction with the XynE xylanase in hydrolysis of acetylated xylan.Can.J.Microbiol. 51:821-832, 2005.
  • Jun, H.S., J.K. Ha, L.M. Malburg, Jr., A.M. Verrinder Gibbins and C.W. Forsberg. 2003. Characteristics of a cluster of xylanase genes in Fibrobacter succinogenes S85. Can. J. Microbiol. 49:171-180.

(B) Development of Environmentally Friendly Genetically Enhanced Swine

We have developed genetically enhanced pigs trademarked ‘EnviropigTM’ with the capacity to efficiently use plant phosphorus, which is unavailable to conventional pigs. This bypasses the need for the farmer to add either supplemental phosphorus or phytase to the swine ration. Since no phosphorus is added to the ration, and a large proportion of the plant phosphorus is digested and incorporated into tissues, the amount of phosphorus remaining in the manure is reduced by as much as 60%. Manure from these pig has a more suitable nitrogen/phosphorus ratio for plant growth.

This Enviropig research has been funded by Ontario Pork, The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Small Town and Rural Development Infrastructure Initiative (OSTAR) program administered through the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and through a contract with the University of Guelph has with OMAFRA. We currently are funded by Ontario Pork for safety testing leading to eventual commercialization, and by the Advanced Food and Materials Network (AFMNet) for developing rapid throughput OMIC (proteomic, genomic and metabolomic) methods for safety testing.