This site uses cookies to ensure the best viewing experience for our readers. Read more about it Got it

How Gene Manipulation Could Reduce Cow Farts

Cow gassiness is responsible for approximately 25% of methane emissions in the U.S. Now, researchers have potentially found a way to reduce global gas emissions using microbes native to cows’ guts

Adi Pick 10:3115.07.19
As the Earth approaches the point of no return in terms of global warming, some countries are banning plastic straws or disposable tableware, while researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, together with a team from Scotland's University of Aberdeen have found a new way to reduce emissions: manipulating cow genes. Cow genes can be used to control microbiomes in cattle’s digestive tract, or more specifically the rumen, in order to control the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted by cows, the researchers said in a statement.

 

For daily updates, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.

 

With every cow fart or burp, methane gas is released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide. While each individual excretion of cow gas may seem inconsequential, there are more than 1.4 billion cows in the world today according to the U.N., so each little burp adds up. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that approximately 25% of methane emissions in the U.S. come from cows.

Cows. Photo: Shutterstock Cows. Photo: Shutterstock
The researchers have identified a group of genetically inherited microbes located in a cow’s gut that help cows digest their food and is responsible for the production of methane. The researchers believe it is possible to reduce global methane emissions by selectively breeding cows that naturally have less of the methane-producing microbe.

 

The study, published earlier this month examined more than 1,000 cows from Italy, the U.K., Finland, and Sweden.
Cancel Send
    To all comments