AUG 02, 2017 5:49 AM PDT

Cutting Down on Cow Gas


Climate change is something scientists all over the globe are working to combat. One of the contributing factors to the warming of the planet is methane gas. Estimates show that methane raises temperatures 86 times more than CO2. A prime source of methane? Cow farts. Yes, it's indelicate, but it's true. With between 1.3 and 1.5 billion cows on the planet, each producing between 200-500 liters of methane gas per day, that's a whole lot of silent but deadly. What can be done ?

Researchers in Australia have studied the issue and come up with a diet additive that reduces the amount of gas produced. Adding dried seaweed to the feed given to cows (around 2% of the feed mix was seaweed) was able to reduce the amount of gas from the cows by 99%. Not just any seaweed will work, however. Researchers experimented with different varieties and came up with one, red seaweed, which worked especially well. It was one of those accidental findings, where a farmer who kept cows near an ocean noticed his cows were emitting less gas and also feeling a little more romantic. It turns out that the wind had blown seaweed particles off nearby beaches, it mixed with the grass and feed and voila, less gas and more romance for his cows. Sometimes science is complex , and yet sometimes it's just about a little research and a happy accident.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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