Pill to control methane emissions

Published: Monday 30 April 2007

-- (Credit: SHYAMAL)A pill can now help cows stop burping and thereby cut a significant amount of methane emissions into the atmosphere and contribute to checking global warming.

Known as bolus, the plant-based pill has been developed by scientists from the University of Hohenheim, Germany, and can reduce the amount of methane emitted by cows in combination with an anti-flatulence diet.

Methane is produced in the fermentation process when cows digest grass. It is estimated that most of the gas is later burped out and contributes to almost 4 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

The scientists believe that the pill will help trap some of the energy from methane and boost metabolism in cows. The theory is that cows will use the methane to produce glucose instead of passing it out as wind.

This higher metabolism, in turn, will help the cows produce more milk, the scientists claim.

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