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Curry spices for cows and sheep could cut methane emissions

Posted by Lindy on July 20, 2010


By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Monday, 19 July 2010

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/curry-spices-for-cows-and-sheep-could-cut-methane-emissions-2029761.html

Curry spices could hold the key to reducing the enormous greenhouse gas emissions given off by grazing animals such as sheep, cows and goats, scientists have claimed. Research carried out at Newcastle University has found that coriander and turmeric ā€“ spices traditionally used to flavour curries ā€“ can reduce by up to 40 per cent the amount of methane that is produced by bacteria in a sheep’s stomach and then emitted into the atmosphere when the animal burps.

Working rather like an anti-biotic, the spices were found to kill the methane-producing “bad” bacteria in the animal’s gut while allowing the “good” bacteria to flourish. The findings are part of an ongoing study led by Dr Abdul Shakoor Chaudhry at Newcastle University.

There are around 30m sheep in the UK, each producing around 20 litres of methane a day, emitted by burping. Methane (CH4) is more than 20 times as powerful in terms of causing global warming as the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2). As well as the environmental implications, the sheep itself also loses an estimated 12 per cent of its food energy to methane production, resulting in a lower milk and meat yield

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