The work of the late Sir Joseph Barcroft and his collaborators (see Elsden & Phillipson, 1948) left little doubt that, in ruminants, the end products of the bacterial dissimilation of dietary carbohydrate included large amounts of the steam-volatile fatty acids—acetic, propionic and butyric acids. More recently, el Shazly (1952a, b) has shown that the steam-volatile fatty acids also arise together with ammonia during the bacterial breakdown of amino-acids in the rumen. Studies by Pfander & Phillipson (1953) and Schambye (1955) further indicate that the acids are absorbed from the digestive tract in amounts that suggest they make a major contribution to the energy requirement of the animal. Quantitative data relative to the amounts absorbed, however, are difficult to obtain. Carroll & Hungate (1954) have calculated that in cattle some 6,000-12,000 Cal. of energy are available from the acids produced by fermentation in the rumen. With sheep, Phillipson & Cuthbertson (1956) have calculated from the results of Schambye (1951a, b; 1955) that at least 600-1,200 Cal. of energy in the form of steam-volatile fatty acids could be absorbed every 24 hrs. Since the fasting heat production of the steer is about 6,500 Cal./24 hrs. and that of the sheep about 1,100 Cal./24 hrs. it is clear that if the fatty acids can be utilised efficiently by the body tissues, they could make a major contribution to the energy requirements, at least those for maintenance.