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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Technology Update

Air Date: Week of

Cynthia Graber reports on a new technique to reduce methane in gases released by livestock.


GRABER: Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming. Methane is one of them, and is being released into the environment in amounts that are starting to concern scientists. More than half of human-induced methane is a byproduct of the agriculture industry. And half of that methane comes from livestock in the form of flatulence. Now scientists in Scotland have found a way to reduce this type of methane output, and here's how they did it. Normally, bacteria in the livestock's stomach digest food, releasing methane in the process. So the researchers introduced a different type of bacteria into livestock feed: bacteria that munch on the methane and convert it to carbon dioxide. CO2 is also a greenhouse gas, but with 60 times less warming power than methane. One of the Scottish scientists says this development has the potential to reduce global methane output by about six percent and combat global warming, without of course affecting Bessie's appetite.

(A cow moos)

GRABER: And that's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.



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