Feeds

Wallabies battle cattle farts

Cork me kangaroo’s bot, Scott

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Tammar Wallaby’s digestive system is getting agricultural researchers excited, after researchers from Australia’s science agency CSIRO found its gut generates far lower methane emissions than cattle.

Methane poses a greenhouse conundrum for policy makers: our dependence on livestock for meat means we keep lots of ruminants around, which generate lots of methane. Since most countries are reluctant to impose a state-sponsored vegetarianism, researchers are working hard to cut down the world's vast cloud of ruminant methane.

Enter the Tammar Wallaby: it generates 80 percent less of the gas per unit of digestible energy than livestock animals. Mark Morrison, an Ohio State University animal sciences professor who is also science leader in metagenomics at CSIRO’s Livestock Industries division, says the efficiency of the macropod’s digestive system offers another payoff – better nutrient retention.

The key lies in a bacterium in the wallaby’s gut, which Morrison’s group sequenced and isolated and believe could be used to augment the microbes normally present in livestock digestive systems.

Marsupials and ruminants share a “pre-digestive” fermentation process to break down plant food, and this fermentation produces methane. However, it’s been known for some time that while cattle and sheep turn as much as 10 percent of their food into methane, the Tammar Wallaby produces only 1 percent to 2 percent.

The CSIRO researchers have identified the key bacterium in the marsupial: a member of the Succinivibrionaceae called WG-1, which produces succinate rather than methane as a by-product of fermentation. The succinate locks up hydrogen and carbon that would otherwise by grabbed by methane-producing bacteria.

Morrison says that Succinivibrionaceae also exist in ruminants, but have not been a focus of study in the past. “Our findings with the Tammar wallaby were a bit of a surprise, but we think they provide an important clue for how rumen fermentation might be directed away from methane formation." ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.