News last update:6 Aug 2012

Pill to stop methane emission from cows

German scientists have developed a pill that stops cattle breaking wind. Methane emissions from cattle are responsible for 4% of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and any reduction would be a major contribution to reducing global warming.

Scientists at the University of Hohenheim in Germany say they have now tested a pill which in combination with a special diet and strict feeding times should make cattle less harmful to the climate.
The pill, which is still being tested, breaks down the methane in the cows' stomachs, and also has health benefits for the cattle.

Use methane for glucose
Winfried Drocher, head of the faculty for animal nutrition at the university, said: "It will make this energy available for the cows' metabolism. The cattle can use the methane to produce glucose instead of just passing it out and it will enable them to produce more milk."
The only problem at the moment is that the pill is about the size of a fist, which is hard to persuade the cows to swallow.
"It needs to be this big as it dissolves slowly, releasing active ingredients over several months. Our aim is to increase the well-being of the cows and to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses," said Drocher.

Related website:
University of Hohenheim

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