by Staff Writers
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Apr 15, 2014
Ruminant cows and sheep account for a major proportion of the methane produced around the world. Currently around 20 percent of global methane emissions stem from ruminants. In the atmosphere methane contributes to the greenhouse effect - that's why researchers are looking for ways of reducing methane production by ruminants.
Comparatively little is known about the methane production of other animal species - but one thing seems to be clear: Ruminants produce more of the gas per amount of converted feed than other herbivores.
The only other animal group that regularly "ruminates" like ruminants are camels. This includes alpacas, llamas, dromedaries and Bactrian camels. They, too, have multi-chambered forestomachs. They, too, regurgitate food from the forestomach in order to reduce it in size through renewed chewing. That's why people assumed up to now that camels produce a similar amount of methane to ruminants.
Researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now examined this assumption in a project sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and have come to the following conclusion: in absolute terms camels release less methane than cows and sheep of comparable body size.
However, if one compares methane production with the amount of converted feed, then it is the same in both groups. "To calculate the proportion of methane produced, different estimated values should be used for camels than those used for ruminants", explains Marcus Clauss from the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich.
Lower metabolism - less feed - less methane
"The results show us that camels have a lower metabolism. Hence, they need less feed and release less methane than our domestic ruminants", says the vet Marcus Clauss. The lower metabolism of camels could explain why they thrive particularly in areas with a shortage of food - desert and barren mountain regions.
Marie T. Dittmann, Ullrich Runge, Richard A. Lang, Dario Moser, Cordula Galeffi, Michael Kreuzer, Marcus Clauss. Methane emission by camelids. PLOS ONE. April 9, 2014.
University of Zurich
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|