Navigation Links
Methane gas from cows -- the proof is in the poo
Date:6/6/2011

Scientists could have a revolutionary new way of measuring how much of the potent greenhouse gas methane is produced by cows and other ruminants, thanks to a surprising discovery in their poo.

Researchers from the University of Bristol and the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research Centre in Ireland, have found a link between methane production and levels of a compound called archaeol in the faeces of several fore-gut fermenting animals including cows, sheep and deer.

The compound could potentially be developed as a biomarker to estimate the methane production from domestic and wild animals, allowing scientists to more accurately assess the contribution that ruminants make to global greenhouse gas emissions.

Co-author Dr Fiona Gill, who conducted the work as a postdoctoral researcher at Bristol and is now at the University of Leeds, said: "When it comes to calculating carbon budgets there is currently a lot of uncertainty surrounding animal methane contributions, particularly from wild ruminants.

"We're quite good at measuring man-made CO2 emissions, but techniques to measure the animal production of methane a much more potent greenhouse gas have serious limitations.

"If we can identify a simple biomarker for methane production in animal stools, then we can use this along with information on diet and animal population numbers to estimate their total contribution to global methane levels."

Cows, sheep and other ruminants are thought to be responsible for around one-fifth of global methane production but the precise amount has proved difficult to quantify. Methane production from animals is often measured using respiration chambers, which can be laborious and are unsuitable for grazing animals.

Archaeol is thought to come from organisms called archaea, which are symbiotic or 'friendly' microbes that live in the foregut of ruminant animals. These microbes produce methane as a by-product of their metabolism and this is then released by the animal as burping and flatulence.

Principal investigator, Dr Ian Bull of Bristol's School of Chemistry said: "We initially detected archaeol in the faeces of several foregut fermenters including camels, cows, giraffes, sheep and llamas. We then expanded the study to evaluate the quantities of this compound in the faeces of cows with different diets.

"Two groups of cows were fed on different diets and then their methane production and faecal archaeol concentration were measured. The animals that were allowed to graze on as much silage as they wanted emitted significantly more methane and produced faeces with higher concentrations of archaeol than those given a fixed amount of silage, supplemented by concentrate feed.

"This confirms that manipulating the diet of domestic livestock could also be an important way of controlling methane gas emissions."


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Isom
h.isom@leeds.ac.uk
44-011-334-35764
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Methane gas levels begin to increase again
2. Global methane levels on the rise again
3. Wetlands likely source of methane from ancient warming event
4. Landfill cover soil methane oxidation underestimated
5. Methane-eating microbes can use iron and manganese oxides to breathe
6. Methane gas likely spewing into the oceans through vents in sea floor
7. RIT scientist shines laser light on methane in pursuit of clean fuel
8. Methane-powered laptops may be closer than you think
9. Milestone: A methane-metal marriage
10. Freshwater methane release changes greenhouse gas equation
11. UCSB, Texas A&M scientists find methane gas concentrations have returned to near-normal levels
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/8/2016)... , March 8, 2016   Valencell ... technology, today announced it has secured $11M in ... GII Tech, a new venture fund being launched ... additional participation from existing investors TDF Ventures and ... funds to continue its triple-digit growth and accelerate ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... and DE SOTO, Kansas , March ... Detection Plus® to offer Oncimmune,s Early CDT®-Lung, a ... early detection of lung cancer Early CDT®-Lung ... and individuals. --> Early CDT®-Lung test to ... --> Oncimmune, a leader in early cancer ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... , March 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the  "Global ...  report to their offering. ... the addition of the  "Global Biometric ...  report to their offering. --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... Proove Biosciences, Inc ., the ... launch of the Proove Health Foundation . The Foundation is a non-profit ... use of personalized medicine for tackling the nation’s most-pressing healthcare epidemics. As part ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... During a two ... into a viable company, CereScan’s CEO, John Kelley, joined other Denver business leaders ... and mentor in the Denver area business community, shared his top fundamental learnings ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 Elekta ... latest update to its industry-leading treatment planning software, is ... Monaco version 5.11 provides significant ... attain calculation speeds up to four times faster than ... With the industry,s gold standard Monte Carlo ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Hill, Conn. (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 ... ... of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut's innovative, growing companies, today announced the ... digital health and financial technology (fintech) companies. , “VentureClash looks to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: