Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Major methanogen milestone

5th September 2014

Major methanogen milestone

AgResearch scientists and US researchers are one step closer in their work to reduce methane emissions from sheep.

They have identified microbial differences in the rumens of sheep with high or low methane emissions.

The work is part of a Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research project and has been carried out by the Rumen Microbiology team at AgResearch Grasslands in Palmerston North, and at the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in San Francisco, California.

Methane belched from sheep and other ruminants accounts for around 28% of global methane emissions from human-related activities. It is produced in the rumen by microbes called methanogens and the work targeting these organisms is aimed at reducing methane emissions from ruminants.

AgResearch scientist and project leader, Dr Graeme Attwood says the results, which have just been published in the top-ranking journal Genome Research, are one of the first major findings of the four-year project.

“The study used the large sequencing and data analysis capabilities of the JGI to look at the occurrence, abundance and expression of methanogen genes between low and high methane-emitting sheep identified from flocks in New Zealand,” he says.

“These analyses showed that, although the relative abundance of genes did not differ between the low and high methane groups, the expression of genes involved in the metabolic pathway leading to methane formation were significantly elevated in methanogens within the rumens of high methane-emitting animals.”
He says this discovery helps explain the methanogen involvement in this animal trait, and it is likely that further detailed analysis of the large sequence datasets will uncover differences in other rumen microbes which also contribute.

The study is funded through the New Zealand government in support of the objectives of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and its Livestock Research Group, and builds on previous work by a combined NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre and NZ Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium programme in which a large number of sheep have been screened to identify naturally low or high methane-emitting animals.

This programme aims to breed sheep for New Zealand farms which are low methane-emitters but also maintain their ability to reproduce and retain or improve their meat and wool production.

The microbial gene expression differences discovered in the study help define the methane trait in sheep and will assist in the selection of future low methane flocks.

“Understanding the microbial composition of a low methane animal and how its rumen works, will enable us to focus on targeting the methanogens directly using complementary approaches such as drenches, slow release boluses or specialised forages and supplements,” says Dr Attwood.

The paper “Methane yield phenotypes linked to differential gene expression in the sheep rumen microbiome” has been published this week in the journal Genome Research http://genome.cshlp.org/content/24/9/1517

About AgResearch: AgResearch is New Zealand's largest Crown Research Institute and focuses on supporting the country’s pastoral sector through scientific research and innovation.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

PGPs: New Programme Sets Sights On Strong Wool

A new collaboration between The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), announced today, aims to deliver premiums for New Zealand's strong wool sector... More>>

ALSO:

Restrictions Lifted: No Further Tau Flies Found

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) confirms that all restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables in Manurewa, Auckland, due to the Tau fly, have been lifted as of 2.26pm on Sunday 7 February. More>>

Crowdfinding: Awaroa Beach To Become Public Land If Appeal Succeeds

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says a privately-owned beach will become part of the Abel Tasman National Park if an online crowdfunding campaign to buy it succeeds... More>>

ALSO:

Meat Workers Union: Waitangi Mondayisation Flaunted By Large Employer Of Maori

At the AFFCO Talley owned meat plant in Rangiuru, the company has resorted to bullying and threats... saying they could be disciplined and their union sued for an unlawful strike if workers exercise their rights to a paid day off tomorrow. More>>

Earlier:

ETS Review: Modelling Documents Released

Three technical documents are being released to help New Zealanders engage with the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) review, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>

ALSO:

Northland: Govt Plan Targets Transport, Web, Maori Assets

The government has released a 10-year plan to attract investors and lift economic growth in Northland, a region that perennially underperforms the rest of the country even while being endowed with natural beauty, productive land, minerals, a potential workforce, scope for manufacturing, forestry and aquaculture, and proximity to Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics: Unemployment Rate Falls To 5.3 Percent

The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in the December 2015 quarter (from 6.0 percent), Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the lowest unemployment rate since March 2009. There were 16,000 fewer people unemployed than in the September ... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news