Feeds

Irish boffins tackle cow-fart ecopocalypse with fish oil

Planet-busting bovine guff cloud forestalled?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Irish boffins believe they may be able to save us all from the scourge of cowfart-induced ecological catastrophe, according to reports. It seems that adding fish oil to the parping bovine planet-wreckers' diet can reduce their methane emissions.

As any fule kno, methane (CH4) - produced in the guts of various animals including cows and humans, and emitted by means of the trouser cough - is a hugely more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, being some twenty times as effective at trapping heat within the atmosphere. Cattle in particular are so flatulent, and produce so much methane, that there have been calls to limit their numbers for the sake of the planet - despite the impact this would have on the availability of cheeseburgers etc.

But there may be no need for all that, says Dr Lorraine Lillis of University College Dublin. She and her team of top Irish guff boffins have recently carried out a trial in which three cows were fed a special diet including fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and had their noxious bottomnal emissions sequestered for analysis.

The special fish-fuelled cow farts, according to Lillis, contained 21 per cent less methane than everyday bovine flatulence products.

"The fish oil affects the methane-producing bacteria in the rumen part of the cow's gut, leading to reduced emissions," said Lillis, speaking at a microbiology conference in Harrogate today.

"Understanding which microbial species are particularly influenced by changes in diet and relating them to methane production could bring about a more targeted approach to reducing methane emissions in animals."

However, simply using fish oil as in the trial might be a bit troublesome.

"Fish oil is expensive and difficult to get," Lillis admitted to LiveScience. Commercial scale bovine guff-buster diet supplements might have to use other sources of omega-3, or risk being too expensive and perhaps encouraging the ongoing worldwide decimation of fish stocks.

When it was revealed recently that human bottom-belch emissions were an eco hazard on a par with Googling - considered by some to be highly damaging ecologically - it became clear that the human race is also part of the problem here. We are farting ourselves towards extinction.

We at the Reg naturally called at the time for the immediate development of automated, in-pant flare stack technology. This would free humanity from the mindless and occasionally painful drudgery of burning off our farts in order to offset our compulsive Googling, leaving of TVs on standby etc. (One methane molecule, when burnt, yields one of CO2 and some water vapour, reducing its ecological burden by 95 per cent: failing to light your farts is incredibly environmentally irresponsible.)

If the new Irish fish oil fart-squelching technology should fail, it will clearly be time for every cow to be fitted with some type of buttock mounted guff-blast detonator kit, or possibly a storage tank allowing the noxious emissions to be burned later as fuel in fart-propelled cars or something. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO MURDER SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.