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Development of gas selective membranes for intra-ruminal capsules - Department of Agriculture Ref No 01200.006

Project start date: 14 September 2012
Project end date: 01 September 2015
Publication date: 01 August 2015
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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​In this project, nanostructured gas selective membranes for intra-ruminal capsules, as well as for protecting any field gas sensing measurement systems, were successfully developed.

These membranes incorporated nanomaterials including multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT), graphene nanosheets, molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) nanosheets and silver (Ag) nanoparticles as the nanofillers into porous polymeric metrics. Their morphological and structural properties were comprehensively investigated and they were tuned to adjust their permeation properties towards important enteric gases for carbon farming including methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) hydrogen (H2) and hydrogen disulphide (H2S). Additionally, we successfully demonstrated that the addition of catalytic nanomaterials such as Ag could efficiently slow microbial growth on the surface of membranes and increase their longevity in the rumen environment.

Altogether, our developed nanocomposite membranes proved to be ideal candidates for improving the measurement accuracy and extending the operation life of intra-ruminal capsules in the harsh rumen environment.

We also fully investigated membranes in rumen liquid both ex situ and in situ using which we were able to associate the type and number of microbial consortia to CH4production.

It is envisaged that these ex situ and in situ gas measurement systems with their embedded membranes, developed in this project, will be further expanded for ruminants, and also be utilised for human healthcare and medical sectors. We are now pursuing commercialisation pathways, which should potentially help in mitigating CH4 effect in farming sectors.

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Primary researcher: RMIT University