Skip to comments.Feds Research Breeding Sheep With Lower Methane-Emitting Flatulence
Posted on 06/23/2014 5:18:51 PM PDT by llevrok
The U.S. government funded research into methane emissions from sheep digestive systems flatulence and burps to see why some sheep produce more of the greenhouse gas than others.
Researchers with the Energy Departments Joint Genome Institute wanted to find out exactly why animals of the same species produce different levels of methane. The ultimate hope of the the research is to find ways to breed livestock that produce less methane when they pass gas.
The deep sequencing study contributes to this breeding program by defining the microbial contribution to the methane trait, which can be used in addition to methane measurements to assist in animal selection, said senior scientist Graeme Attwood with AgResearch Limited, a senior author on the paper.
JGI researchers looked at the methane emissions of 22 sheep that are part of a breeding program in New Zealand that aims to breed sheep that emit less methane. They found that sheep with low methane-emitting flatulence had elevated levels of Methanosphaera a species of methanogen. Sheep with high methane-emitting flatulence had elevated levels of the methanogen Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii.
Researchers then identified a methane-producing pathway and three variants of a gene encoding an important methane-forming reaction that were involved in elevated methane yields, according to JGI.
We wanted to understand why some sheep produce a lot and some produce little methane, said JGI Director Eddy Rubin. The study shows that it is purely the microbiota responsible for the difference.
The publishing of the study comes as the Obama administration launches its plan to cut methane emission in its crusade against global warming. The largest man-made source of methane emissions comes from livestock, particularly cows and sheep.
Republicans have warned that regulating methane from livestock could lead to de facto taxes on animal flatulence. The Obama administration wants to reduce methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25 percent by 2020, which have lawmakers worried.
The agriculture community is committed to environmental stewardship, which is evidenced by the 11 percent reduction in agriculture-related methane emissions since 1990, Republicans, led by South Dakota Sen. John Thune, wrote to the Obama administration. It is our hope that the EPA, USDA, and DOE will work with Congress and the agriculture industry to outline voluntary measures that can be taken to reduce emissions without imposing heavy-handed regulations on farms across America.
The Environmental Protection Agency says that methane is 28 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and atmospheric levels of it have reached 1,800 parts per billion. One-fifth of methane emissions come from livestock, according to the EPA.
My tax dollars at work.
I wish they would do that with the politicians in Washington.
Now, if they could just breed the BS out of government...
Obama’s “all other problems solved” dept.
GM crowd won’t stomach this...
“My tax dollars at work.”
At least, it gave me a good laugh. Better than 99% of the things they throw my money at.
You know, I sort of thought the atmosphere smelled like sheep farts this morning.
1800 ppb = 1.8 ppm = 0.00018 %
That's right, boys and girls! 18 hundred-thousandths of a percent. Break out the gas masks.
Washington politicians? They need to work on their intelligence and loyalty first.
I mean these politicians are spewing too much gas and anything to reduce it would be helpful.
There go the yummy lamb-chops, which will now taste like chicken!
But can they “Fly” like the ones on Monty Python or will they just ‘plummet’?
Try some activated charcoal masks and pant liners then.
Can we clone/replace politicians, too, but swap their mouths with another orifice?
How many VA treatments did it cost.
I’m glad it’s YOUR tax dollars at work. I’d be really pi$$ed if MY money were spent on such bunkum. I can rest easy this night.
Their flesh, of course, causes disease, but, hey, who cares as long as there’s a net saving in methane.
Everyone knows we should all long since have gone back to living in caves and picking lice so that we don’t impact the environment.
Forget the sheep. If they make progress with bull terriers, I’m interested.