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Methane production

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169318.  Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:46 am Reply with quote

Q: Which animal process creates most of the methane in the countryside?
F: Cow flatulence
A: Cow burping.

Methanogenic bacteria live in the rumen (fore-stomach), and so their products come out of the front. 50 litres a day. Basically the same processes are happening in cow stomachs and intestines except that the methanogens turn the digested food particles into methane gas rather than acetate. Since methane isnít such a good souce of energy for the cow, itís passed out of the body as waste gas. And the way it leaves is what we so eloquently call belches or farts. The majority of the methane is made in a cow's stomachs, or rumen, and is belched out. Some of the methane is made in the cow's intestines and is farted out.

Methanogens are normal inhabitants of the rumen (fore-stomach) of cows and other ruminant animals. A cow belches about 50 liters of methane a day during the process of eructation (chewing the cud). Methane is a significant greenhouse gas and is accumulating in the atmosphere at an alarming rate. When rain forests are destroyed and replaced by cows, it is "double-hit" on the greenhouse.

Termites, however, emit a great deal of methane from their anuses.


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