As our good Facebook pal Chris FitzGerald says, this is a project we need to “jump on before it’s too late.” My sister-in-law, Mrs Luke Mannion, though, fears there’s bound to be “pockets of resistance” to the idea.
Here's where the humble kangaroo comes in. Ever since researchers identified kangaroos' unusually "green" farts, they've dreamed of transferring that trait to more popular food animals. See, marsupials are also ruminants, but the majority of the byproducts of their digestion are broken down by specialized bacteria into acetate, which the kangaroo converts into energy.But what is true is that kangaroos have unusually eco-friendly farts. (Yes, you read that correctly.) And that little factoid could help save the world for us human beings.
Okay, let's backtrack a little and talk about methane. This common molecule is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas produced in the United States, and according to the EPA, it has an environmental impact 20 times greater than carbon dioxide. That's because it lasts longer in the atmosphere and thus traps more heat.
The majority of the methane in Earth's atmosphere comes from livestock. A single cow can produce 53 to 132 gallons of methane a day just by belching. And as the world's population grows, so will the number of cows belching methane into the air…
These days, professor Athol Klieve of the University of Queensland in Australia is pushing forward in studying the secrets of the kangaroo's relatively flatulence-free lifestyle.
Dr. Klieve believes that if we can figure out how to transfer the microbes responsible—in this case, several species of reductive acetogen bacteria—into cattle, we could put a huge dent in the amount of methane produced worldwide.
Read all of Jonathan Chan’s article, Problem: climate change. Solution: kangaroos?, at Reviewed.com for the SCIENCE!
Then come back here for the sing-along with Rolf Harris and the Seekers.
Hat tip to Mike the Mad Biologist.
Photo via Wikipedia.