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Using kangaroo bacteria to reduce emissions of methane and increase productivity.

Project start date: 01 February 2005
Project end date: 30 September 2009
Publication date: 01 June 2009
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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This project investigated the roles of reductive acetogenesis and methanogenesis in the foregut of kangaroos to determine whether, in the future, reductive acetogenesis could be used to reduce methane emissions from sheep and cattle and increase productivity. It was reaffirmed that most kangaroos don’t generate methane and shown that when methanogenesis is inhibited reductive acetogens can survive in a rumen-like environment. The reductive acetogens in culture represent a fraction of the diversity present and there are unusual archaea, whose role is still to be defined, associated with kangaroos. Further research is recommended, if the pivotal mechanisms and the microbes involved in reductive acetogenesis in kangaroos could be determined and understood, it is possible that methane emissions from cattle and sheep could be markedly reduced and productivity and profitability increased.

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Project manager: Rodd Dyer
Primary researcher: Department of Primary Industries