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Fish oils reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flatulent cows

The fish oil affects the methane-producing bacteria in the rumen part of the cow's gut, leading to reduced emissions. 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.

The benefits to animals of omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils have been well documented – helping the heart and circulatory system, improving meat quality and reducing methane emissions.

More than a third of all methane emissions, around 900 billion tonnes every year, are produced by methanogen bacteria that live in the digestive systems of ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats. By volume, methane is 20 times more powerful at trapping solar energy than carbon dioxide making it a potent greenhouse gas.

by S. C.
01 april 2009, Technical Area > Science News

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