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

 

Must Sell 20 Petrol Stations: Z Cleared To Buy Caltex Assets

Z Energy is allowed to buy the Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains but must sell 19 of its retail sites and one truck-stop, the Commerce Commission has ruled in a split decision that acknowledges possible retail price coordination between fuel retailers occurs in some regions. More>>

ALSO:

Huntly: Genesis Extends Life Of Coal-Fuelled Power Station To 2022

Genesis Energy will keep its two coal and gas-fired units at Huntly Power Station operating until 2022, having previously said they'd be closed by 2018, after wringing a high price from other electricity generators who wanted to keep them as back-up. More>>

ALSO:

Dammed If You Do: Ruataniwha Irrigation Scheme Hits Farmer Uptake Targets

Enough Hawke's Bay farmers have signed up for water from the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme for it to go ahead as long as a cornerstone institutional capital investor can be found to back it, its regional council promoter announced. More>>

ALSO:

Reserve Bank: OCR Stays At 2.25%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2.25 percent, in a decision traders had said could go either way, while predicting inflation will pick up as the slump in oil prices washes out of the data and capacity pressures start to build in the economy. More>>

ALSO:

Export Values Down: NZ Posts Biggest Annual Trade Deficit In 7 Years

New Zealand has recorded its biggest annual trade deficit since April 2009, reflecting weaker prices of agricultural commodities such as dairy products, beef and lamb, and increased imports of vehicles and machinery. More>>

ALSO:

Currency Events: NZ's New $5 Note Wins International Banknote Award

New Zealand’s new Brighter Money $5 note has been named Banknote of the Year in a prestigious international competition. The $5 note was awarded the IBNS Banknote of the Year title at the International Bank Note Society’s annual meeting. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news