The Loh Down On Science

Green Grass

A new, genetically engineered grass means less greenhouse gas in Bessie's burps.

Who's to blame for global warming? Refineries, traffic exhaust, COWS??__

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science saying regrettably, Bessie, it's true. _ Cow belches are loaded with methane gas,_which is twenty three times worse than carbon dioxide for global warming._

See: Like other ruminants, cows don't digest food on_their own. That's the job of bacteria living in_the first of a cow's four stomachs. As the bugs_break down grass, they produce methane.__

The tougher the grub, the more methane for cows to belch out._ Taping the cows' mouths shut isn't an option--_ Makes them cranky-- So to decrease gas_ emissions, scientists at Gramina, an Australian biotech_company, looked at cow diets.

Otherwise known as, all grass all the time, sure, fair enough--._ But to reduce methane, the scientists genetically_ engineered a new kind of grass. It contains less of an_ indigestible fiber called lignin. Less fiber should mean less methane in_ Bessie's burps.__

Bessie's farts, as you suspect, we'll probably cover in ANOTHER science minute. But 'til then--!


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