News last update:6 Aug 2012

Bovine hormone cuts down methane gas

The genetically engineered hormone: recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) may have hidden environmental benefits, according to new research in the US.

The hormone is sometimes used to boost milk production. However, giving animals the hormone cuts their emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane by 7% per litre of milk, says author Judith Capper of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and her colleagues, two of whom have financial links with the drug's manufacturer, Monsanto. Switching a million cows onto somatotropin would be equivalent to taking 400,000 family cars off the road.

However, the use of the recombinant supplement has been controversial. While it is used in the United States, it is banned in Canada, parts of the European Union, Australia and New Zealand. So if this is the solution to cut greenhouse gases remains to be seen.

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