When digesting ruminants exhale methane. Their contribution to this global greenhouse gas is considerable. So far the assumption had been that camels with similar digestion produce the same amount of the climate-damaging gas. However, researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now shown camels release less methane than ruminants.
Ruminant cows and sheep account for a major proportion of the methane produced around the world. Currently around 20 percent of global methane emissions stem from ruminants.
In the atmosphere methane contributes to the greenhouse effect – that’s why researchers are looking for ways of reducing methane production by ruminants.
Comparatively little is known about the methane production of other animal species – but one thing seems to be clear: Ruminants produce more of the gas per amount of converted feed than other herbivores.
The only other animal group that regularly “ruminates” like ruminants are camels. This includes alpacas, llamas, dromedaries and Bactrian camels. They, too, have multi-chambered forestomachs. They, too, regurgitate food from the forestomach in order to reduce it in size through renewed chewing.
That’s why people assumed up to now that camels produce a similar amount of methane to ruminants. Researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now examined this assumption in a project sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and have come to the following conclusion: in absolute terms camels release less methane than cows and sheep of comparable body size.
However, if one compares methane production with the amount of converted feed, then it is the same in both groups. “To calculate the proportion of methane produced, different estimated values should be used for camels than those used for ruminants”, explains Marcus Clauss from the Vetsuisse Faculty of the University of Zurich.
Lower metabolism – less feed – less methane
The modified calculation of the “methane budget” may be important for those countries with lots of camels – like the dromedaries in the Middle East and in Australia, or the alpacas and llamas in various South American countries. In cooperation with Zurich Zoo and private camel keepers, scientists from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have measured methane production in three types of camelids.
“The results show us that camels have a lower metabolism. Hence, they need less feed and release less methane than our domestic ruminants”, says the vet Marcus Clauss. The lower metabolism of camels could explain why they thrive particularly in areas with a shortage of food – desert and barren mountain regions.
Marie T. Dittmann, Ullrich Runge, Richard A. Lang, Dario Moser, Cordula Galeffi, Michael Kreuzer, Marcus Clauss. Methane emission by camelids. PLOS ONE. April 9, 2014. doi:http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094363
Prof. Dr. Marcus Clauss
Department for Small Animals
University of Zurich
Tel. +41 44 635 83 76
Nathalie Huber | Universität Zürich
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
How to detect water contamination in situ?
22.09.2016 | Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU)
Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.
Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
30.09.2016 | Event News
29.09.2016 | Event News
28.09.2016 | Event News
30.09.2016 | Materials Sciences
30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences
30.09.2016 | Life Sciences