Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. For instance, in the battle between methane and global warming, garlic could prove to be the little allium that could. Methane is worse for the environment than carbon dioxide, and cows are one of the biggest methane producers on the planet. Since the number of cows on the planet isn’t dropping anytime soon, we need a way to stop the flatulence – and scientists think that feeding cows garlic could be just the trick.
Methane accounts for 18% of greenhouse gases and pound for pound, it is more potent than CO2. As cows eats greens, microbes in their stomachs produces methane which must then be expelled. So if we could somehow adjust the microbe population to get it product less methane, it is possible to reduce methane emissions across the globe. So scientists got to work finding something that could alter the methane-producing microbes, and they discovered that there is a compound in garlic that acts like a poison to the microbe populations.
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Scientists tested a garlic extract mixed together with cattle feed and found that emissions were reduced by 40%. Researchers believe that a commercial version of the garlic feed could be available within three years, though the current version tends to taint the flavor of the milk, so they are looking into different ways to get the garlic in without altering the flavor. Scientists are also considering how to breed cattle that produces less methane.
Lead image via Shutterstock, image via Lily