‘Gassy cows’ can be bred to reduce climate-polluting methane emissions

| | October 4, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Livestock account for 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, with over half of that coming from cattle, according to a 2013 report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. Given that, some environmentalists might choose to eschew milk and beef, but scientists think they’ve figured out a way for us to one day have our cattle and eat them, too — gas-free.

The key is breeding less-gassy cattle, and scientists now know it’s possible because of a study that won the Public Library of Science Genetics Award….

[Rainer Roehe, lead author on the study] says the different diets made a difference in how much methane the cows emitted, but when they ranked the cow families based on how much gas they were expelling, the least gassy family emitted the least methane no matter what they ate. On the flipside, the cows in the family that gave off the most gas were still the biggest offenders regardless of what they were eating. Roehe says that suggests genetics is playing a big role in shaping which microbes exist in any individual cow’s gut and is the reason why some cows belch and fart less than others.

[Editor’s note: Read the full study]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Gassy Cows Warm The Planet. Scientists Think They Know How To Squelch Those Belches

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