Fermentation pathways have been elucidated for predominant ruminal bacteria, but information is limited concerning the specific transport mechanisms used by these microorganisms for C, energy, and N sources. In addition, it is possible that changes in ruminal environmental conditions could affect transport activity. Five carrier-mediated soluble nutrient transport mechanisms have been identified in bacteria: 1) facilitated diffusion, 2) shock sensitive systems, 3) proton symport, 4) Na+ symport, and the 5) phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase system (PEP-PTS). Several regulatory mechanisms are also involved at the cell membrane to coordinate utilization of different sugars. Recent research has shown that predominant ruminal bacteria are capable of transporting soluble nutrients by several of the mechanisms outlined above. Megasphaera elsdenii, Selenomonas ruminantium, and Streptococcus bovis transport glucose by the PEP-PTS, and S. ruminantium and S. bovis also possess PEP-PTS activity for disaccharides. Glucose PTS activity in S. bovis was highest at a growth pH of 5.0, low glucose concentrations, and a dilution rate of .10 h-1. The cellulolytic ruminal bacterium Fibrobacter succinogenes uses a Na+ symport mechanism for glucose transport that is sensitive to low extracellular pH and ionophores. Sodium also stimulated cellobiose transport by F. succinogenes, and there is evidence for a proton symport in the transport of both arabinose and xylose by S. ruminantium. A chemical gradient of Na+ seems to play an important role in AA transport in several ruminal bacteria. Studying nutrient transport mechanisms in ruminal bacteria will lead to a better understanding of the ruminal fermentation.