Eco Tech: Little grazing cows bid in the efficiency race
May 26, 2009 14:14
Genetically engineered cattle to produce less methane and consume less food.
A race is going on between the biggest car manufacturers on the planet to develop the most fuel-efficient and low-emission car that can rule the roads without polluting the environment. Another race is taking shape in Canada where some scientists are trying to genetically engineer cows in a way that makes them eat less food and emit less methane.
These researchers state that three ruminants have the same global warming potential as one mid-sized car and reducing these methane emissions of cattle could be similar to making cars more ecofriendly. The research also promises farmers to the cost needed for the feed to raise cattle. Stephen Moore, an agriculture research scientist from the University of Alberta, is trying to modify the food cows eat and also modify the cattle themselves to bring the change.
By breeding cows that are more “fuel-efficient”, Moore has developed a line of cattle that produce 25% less methane than an average cow. Methane is produced by a bacterium that is a byproduct of the digestion of high-cellulosic diets that include grass and hay. To reduce the amount of methane emitted, Moore has identified the bacterium that is responsible for producing it, which he says can be controlled by genetically engineering vows.
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