Aug 3, 2009
Tinkering with nature or reducing carbon emissions? ecology” />
Cows farting. Now there’s something you wouldn’t normally associate with climate change. However, methane a product of cattle flatulence, is a significant greenhouse gas. In fact, it is estimated that cattle produce 15% of the world’s green house gases, without doubt the largest contributing factor to climate change.
Scientists in Australia however have discovered that kangaroos don’t seem to have the same farting problem. Despite a very similar diet, sheep and cattle have an enlarged stomach where plant material is fermented and hydrogen is produced, emitting methane. The reason – bacteria.
Scientists believe, therefore, that if they can isolate the right kind of bacteria and supplant it into sheep and cattle they may be able to reduce the amount of methane produced.
Critics claim that this is “tinkering” with nature- “it’s wrong, look at dolly the sheep!” However, the widespread use of kangaroo bacteria could be beneficial for farmers by raising yields of wool, milk and meat.