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Fish Oils Reduce Cow Farts

 

Updated : Apr 1, 2009

Irish Scientists have found that feeding fish oils to cows can reduce the amount of methane in the animals’ fart – a finding that could help reduce greenhouse gases which cause global warming.

Cows are particularly flatulent meaning they are a huge source of global emissions. The methane in their farts is a much more destructive greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, as it is more effective at trapping heat within the atmosphere. Over the course of a year, for example, two hundred cows produce as much emissions in energy terms as driving a family car more than 100,000 miles.

But a team of scientists from University College Dublin have found that adding two per cent of fish oil to the animal's feed reduces the amount of methane the cows emit by around a fifth. One of the researchers, Dr. Lorraine Lillis, speaking at a microbiology conference in the U.K., said these findings could help the agriculture industry cut emissions.

Lillis and her colleagues conducted a trial where three cows were fed a diet that included a fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These cows had their farts monitored, and the scientists found that they contained 21 percent less methane than cows who hadn’t been fed the fish oils. "The fish oil affects the methane-producing bacteria in the rumen part of the cow's gut, leading to reduced emissions,” said Dr. Lillis. "Understanding which microbial species are particularly influenced by changes in diet and relating them to methane production could bring about a more targeted approach to reducing methane emissions in animals."

VeryHappyPig says excellent outcome but what an unpleasant study to be involved in!!

 

 

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