Roo bugs to help cut sheep burps

Bacteria that live in the gut of kangaroos could reduce agricultural methane emissions if introduced to sheep and cattle.

Methanogenic bacteria in the guts of sheep and cattle convert carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methane, which the animals burp out into the atmosphere – contributing some 60 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas a year as a by-product of digestion.

Kangaroos, however, have evolved unique gut microbes which produce acetate instead as a byproduct of fermentation, which they use as a source of energy. So instead of being lost to the atmosphere the animal gets more value out of the grass.

The researchers hope to be able to get the kangaroo bacteria to colonise the stomachs of sheep and cattle — to reduce methane emissions and also to improve the efficiency of breakdown of vegetation by these animals.

I wonder if my boyfriend’s emissions could be cut too…..