Jorge Chapa

Scientists to Make Cows Fart Like Kangaroos to Cool the Planet

by , 01/03/08
filed under: global warming

kangaroo, fart, cow, greenhouse gases, methane, scientists, australia, wallaby, cattle, sheep

We’re guessing that headline caught your attention! Cow farts are a source of greenhouse gases, while kangaroo farts are methane free thanks to a particular bacteria in their stomachs. Now, in a bizarre twist of science-reality, scientists from Australia are trying to neutralize cow-produced methane by transferring that kangaroo bacteria to cattle and sheep’s guts. According to the government of Queensland, almost 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions from Australia come from cow farts, so this seemingly silly idea could actually make a big difference.

However, while few things warm our hearts more than kangaroos (except perhaps for a koala), and while we applaud the scientists attempts at reducing a source of greenhouse gases, it still feels a bit too mad scientist to us. No word on whether or not they will get cows to jump as well. We’ll let you know how they progress.

+Quest to make cattle fart like marsupials

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


31 Comments

  1. kushibo April 11, 2009 at 4:38 am

    This is kind of ridiculous. Let’s focus on efforts reducing green house gasses where they are not supposed to be emitted from, like cars and buildings.

    I think the large amounts of methane aren’t supposed to be emitted from the cows either. It’s the grain (such as corn) that we’re feeding them, which they don’t naturally eat and which they can’t properly digest.

  2. yackydoodle July 2, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    more better good ideas. Eat kangaroo meat or milk kangaroos.

    Even better : one child per family.

  3. zeropointnine blog &raq... March 30, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    [...] inhabit, via [...]

  4. Huon February 22, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Whats the problem with all of you?
    If they want to decrease methane from cows using kangaroos then let them. There is no point in going to all the trouble of capturing the gas and using it as a resource when they must more easilly just transfer some bacteria through a pill or something, for F***ks sake.

  5. Debbie January 7, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Oh My God, what has to world come to. The cows aren’t the problem, it’s the century that we live in. The oly problem is, none of us what to go back and live how they did 100 years ago. or better yet, two hundred years ago. We have to be more productive these days, so we need things to be fast. Thats why we have cars and machines. We don’t want horse and carriage to take us anywhere, cause it’s too slow, we don’t use cattle to plow fields anymore, cause it’s too slow. We raise cattle for milk and meat. Which we use… so what, they fart… So do we… and I can tell you right now, at times I would much prefer to be around a cow farting, (which when I lived on a farm, I was around) than my husband and even my dog, heck they can clear a room in seconds, and I can tell it their methane was from onions, broccoli, cabbage, eggs and in my dogs case, pigs ears..Millions of dolloars will be spent to do this for 14 percent.. I belive we should spend the money to reduce other methane causing problems by 14 percent. and what are we really worried about a lousy 14 percent from cows when we still have nuclear bombs for!! leave the cows alone…their digestive system is the way it is for a reason…. and how do I know that…. cause God made them that way!

  6. tato January 5, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    what if cattle could think and act like we do ,would they spend their time studying human farts ?i don’think so! we could have used many other options,like biogas,electricity, water powered engines…it’s just a money issue and everybody knows it ,there would be no excuse to go and wage a war on another country with this terrorist axis of evil bullshit..bullshit ,is bullshit methane free?leave the animal kingdom alone!!and worry abt the 86% of the issue instead.!!

  7. irene January 5, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    my god! haven’t we learnt that messing with the natural way of things is what got us in this mess! leave the poor damn cows alone?! Isn’t it enough that they are slaves, infected and then killed for us already!….

  8. Nick Simpson January 5, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Hahahaha

  9. Jane January 5, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Um…cows do jump, a lot. That is how they get over barb wire fences. *_*

    Also, electric cars etc, farming kangaroos, not being wasteful “because I can afford to pay it”…

  10. Fin January 5, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Stop eating the cows.

    Start eating the kangeroos.

  11. Rob Turner January 4, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I gave some of that bacteria to my cow. It made her jumpy.

  12. pete January 4, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    CameraNut are you volunteering to be one of the people to be eliminated to get to fewer people?

    I mean seriously…

    Look at me I’m realeasing dangerous greenhouse gas right now just sitting here! They should figure out a way so that i don’t expel C02…oh wait they did…

  13. Bob Gill January 4, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Yes, there’s a great expose on cow arses here too: http://blog.tubgull.com/?p=33

    Mmm…intestinal bacteria.

  14. anobleworld.com January 4, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    I call bullshit

  15. CameraNut January 4, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Don’t blame the cows, in terms of environmental balance there aren’t supposed to be so many humans on this planet as we have now either. The same argument for reducing cattle production, if applied upstream, would have a far greater environmental impact than just methane production. More cows plus fewer humans would mean shorter lines for cheaper hamburgers PLUS fewer greenhouse gasses. Totally win win.

  16. David Elton January 4, 2008 at 11:25 am

    The end of all farts & possibly burps as we know it! The household dog finally gets a break if a version for human consumption is invented, not to mention an end to the farting in bed problem!

  17. Nick Simpson January 4, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Michael 2 (same person or second post?) – So we’re effectively turning all of our cows from free range to indoor-reared, almost battery farmed cows? We build thousands and thousands of acres of huge, glass sheds, with big air filtration systems to suck out the methane. Then we put in some massive air-con units, because you know how hot those greenhouses can get, and create a huge fleet of diesel-driven tractors to cut the grass from the fields the cows used to be stood in and bring it to them in their new super-barns… Hmmm…

    Moktar has a point though, in that any cows without this new bacteria should have their faeces stored for the methane, that could potentially work, but it doesn’t deal with the farting…

  18. Tom January 4, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I agree, that methane produced by cows is one of the reasons of global warming. We should also agree, that such a big population of cows would never happen in nature, so we can put cows in one row with cars and other human made sources of greenhouse gasses, but the reduction of gasses produced by cows seems to be the wase of energy. since cows are grown in very unnatural environment surrounded by automatic feeding equipment, milking eauipment and so on why not install one more piping system, connect it to cows’s you-know-what and collect all this methane than condensate it and use as a car fuel in example. Think about economical and environmental benefits of such a system!

  19. Mauricio Vigano January 4, 2008 at 9:14 am

    I think that we should not focus only on buildings and cars, we should make everything possible to reduce greenhouse gasses. If 14% of them comes from cows fart, it is more than worthwhile to focus on that. Collecting it from cows ass or putting them in closed gas-filled environment isn’t much clever, stop eating so much meat is a good idea.
    As for the solar power, I just heard the news of a new flexible sola panel that is printed. Much more efficient and cheaper. It’s cost is about U$0,99/watt, take a look at http://www.nanosolar.com.

  20. GUy January 4, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Well if it works thats the Kyoto protocol looking easier for the Aussies, and for China and India and New Zealand…………… Wales………..Holland……….. you get the idea. it doesn’t matter what you reduce as long as you reduce don’t get silly saying we should focus on cars etc, methane is a huge problem just look at the problems with it being released from the tundra in sibiria as the permafrost melts!

  21. Michael Number 3 January 4, 2008 at 5:10 am

    ummm, Michael #1 , i think they ARE working on that already long before the cow fart break-through.

    Micheal #2, if they put 10 non-stop farting people in a glass room and locked them in, do you think they will survive even the first hour?

    To Michael # 4, why are they so many Michaels out there?!

  22. Christopher P. January 4, 2008 at 5:09 am

    It’ll probably make the cows’ milk taste weird. When I was a kid in upstate New York, the farmers would get quite upset if the cows got into a patch of wild onions, because the milk would get ruined. One can tell the difference between clover and alfalfa milk, and winter silage milk….
    Nowadays one of the principal feedstocks for cattle is soybeans. It takes about 10 times as much soybeans to make a pound of beef as it does to make a pound of tofu…

  23. Reggie Rasmussen January 4, 2008 at 4:13 am

    Is global warming man made, cow made, or natural? Take a look at this video and decide for yourself. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6772058898203776825&q=Great+Global+Warming+Swindle+site%3Avideo.google.com&total=24&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=2
    One thing I think that is not in dispute is our consumption of nonrenewable resources. Our resources are precious and we need to conserve whenever possible. We can conserve our natural resources by using solar power. Two ways are on the horizon that will make solar power affordable to every household. One is Nanosolar and the other is the Citizenre plan. I follow both in my blog at http://www.solarjoules.com

  24. Moktar January 4, 2008 at 2:14 am

    Actually, a better solution would be to stop growing so many cows.

    But that’s offtopic.

  25. Moktar January 4, 2008 at 2:13 am

    This idea isn’t ridiculous at all. Methane is a far more effective greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and cows do make quite a bit of it. Humans regularly get gut bacteria transplants and take measures to control the amount and types of bacteria in their guts, sometimes to make themselves less gassy, sometimes to keep from shitting themselves to death.

    The trick would be making sure that they found their place in the ecosystem of the cow’s gut and the cow survived and was able to continue about its business.

    It might screw up the methane producing plants that some farmers build, where they just put it all in a pond and put a lid over it to contain the produced gas.

    That’s not weird, you’re just boring.

  26. Michael 2 January 4, 2008 at 2:09 am

    Michael,

    There’s not supposed to be as many cows in such concentrations as we raise today, either.

    Nick Simpson,

    Keep the cows in a greenhouse type environment, that is closed, and put the methane to use to generate heat.

  27. Kat January 3, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I want to know who figured out the truth about kangaroo farts.

  28. Nick Simpson January 3, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Joyce, how do we capture a cow’s farts? I can think of a way but I’m not convinced the cow would be very happy…

    Anyway, let’s see what happens, but this seems pretty bizarre. Would the cows survive us messing with their digestive metabolism?!

    The other possible idea, crazy I know, is to stop eating so much cheap beef… Less beef, less cows, less gas…

  29. Brandon January 3, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Hilarious!

  30. Joyce January 3, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Instead of experimenting on animals, why don’t they put the methane to better use, like generate electricity. If they can do it with the methane from their poop, they should be able to figure out a way to get it straight from the source (without injecting bacteria into the poor cows).

  31. Michael January 3, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    This is kind of ridiculous. Let’s focus on efforts reducing green house gasses where they are not supposed to be emitted from, like cars and buildings.

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
What are you looking for? (Solar, HVAC, etc.)
Where are you located?