Scientists are fighting climate change, one burp at a time!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
The target? Methane. This gas is much more effective than others at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
One source of methane is cows. Cow’s stomachs contain microorganisms that ferment plant matter. One type of bug produces methane in this process. Cows release methane into the atmosphere by belching. In fact, cows and other livestock contribute to twenty percent of global methane emissions!
To stop these emissions, scientists resolved to prevent methane formation in cows. In 2015, Alexander Hristov and colleagues discovered a molecule called 3-nitrooxypropanol, or 3-NOP. It reduces methane emissions in the cow gut.
Recently, Evert Ruin and collaborators extended these findings. They showed that 3-NOP shuts down the enzyme responsible for methane production.
In both studies, the scientists added 3-NOP to cow feed. Result? The 3-NOP reduced emissions from cows by thirty percent! And it didn't hurt the cows. They ate it right up!
One win against climate change! Well-mannered cows were an udder bonus. Get it? Sorry!