Baby kangaroos can help in combatting climate change
Perjantai 19.5.2023 klo 19:30 - Mikko Nikinmaa
In addition to taking up immense land area as pasture, cattle causes the release of greenhouse gases directly. When they digest grass, they produce and burb methane, which is a strong greenhouse gas. This is because the bacteria in their fermenting stomach have methane as their end product.
Now, wouldn’t it be nice, if the methane release of cattle could be decreased? A recent study by Karekar and Ahring in Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology (Vol 47: 102526) “Reducing methane production from rumen cultures by bioaugmentation with homoacetogenic bacteria” has suggested that replacing methane-producing bacteria with acetate-producing bacteria in kangaroo babies’ faeces could completely prevent methane production, if the methane-producing bacteria were first eradicated. This finding is currently only done on rumen cultures, but if the change of bacterial consortiums can be done on commercial scale on cattle, some of the climate problems with cattle ranching would disappear. The fact that kangaroos can live with rumen containing acetogenic bacteria indicates that they are compatible with mammalian herbivores. However, the efficiency of acetogenic bacteria may be lower than that of methanogenic ones.