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Fish oils reduce GHG emissions from cows


March 31, 2009
By Marg Land

cows01March 31, 2009 – Researchers from University College Dublin recently
reported that by including two percent fish oil in the diet of cattle
they achieved a reduction in the amount of methane released by the
animals.

March 31, 2009 – Researchers from University College Dublin recently reported that by including two percent fish oil in the diet of cattle they achieved a reduction in the amount of methane released by the animals.

cows01“The fish oil affects the methane-producing bacteria in the rumen part of the cow’s gut, leading to reduced emissions,” said Dr. Lorraine Lillis, one of the researchers, during a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology. “Understanding which microbial species are particularly influenced by changes in diet and relating them to methane production could bring about a more targeted approach to reducing methane emissions in animals.”

More than a third of all methane emissions – around 900 billion tonnes every year – are produced by methanogen bacteria that live in the digestive systems of ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats.

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Approximately 50 percent of Irish agricultural methane emissions result from farm animals; there have been suggestions that, to help combat global warming, a cap be placed on the number of animals in animal production due to their methane production but with a reduction in methane levels through diet this may not be as necessary.


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