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"Scientists Might Reprogram Cow Guts So Cattle Burp Less" Topic

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254 hits since 7 Nov 2016
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2016 3:34 p.m. PST

"The world has a lot of cows—more than 1.5 billion. And every day, US slaughterhouses turn nearly 20,000 of them into steaks, hamburgers, and roast beef. But before they become patty-worthy, each cow spends a lifetime chewing grub and burping greenhouse gases.

Welcome to the world of belching bovines. Livestock emit 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions each year. Most of that is from cows. And because it's pretty unlikely people will quit eating beef (or require each steer be outfitted with a fart-busting diaper), scientists around the world are manipulating the things cows eat in efforts to get cattle to stop eructing so much.

Methane doesn't linger in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide—only about 20 years—but it has a much larger short-term climate impact. "Methane can trap solar heat 28 times better than CO2 can," says Frank Mitloehner, an agricultural emissions researcher at UC Davis. Cow stomachs are four-chambered systems. The methane producing part—called the rumen—is a massive cavity capable of holding a bathtub's worth of saliva and cud. This chewed-up muck is called roughage. Humans get a lot of their fiber from indigestible plant-based foods. Cows can digest these plants, thanks to gut microbes called methanogens that turn plant matter into fiber (which leaves the body as poop) and methane (which leaves the body as burp or flatulent).

Get rid of—or go around—the methanogens, and the methane goes, too…"
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Personal logo Waco Joe Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2016 7:36 p.m. PST

I would love Monsanto to be the company to perfect this and then watch the anti-GMO people's heads explode! wink

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