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Measuring enteric methane emissions from individual ruminant animals in their natural environment

Bell, Matt J.


Matt J. Bell


Narasinha Shurpali

Avinash Kumar Agarwal

V.K. Srivastava


Ruminant livestock are an important source of meat, milk, fiber, and labor for humans. The process by which ruminants digest plant material through rumen fermentation into useful product results in the loss of energy in the form of methane gas from consumed organic matter. The animal removes the methane building up in its rumen by repeated eructations of gas through its mouth and nostrils. Ruminant livestock are a notable source of atmospheric methane, with an estimated 17% of global enteric methane emissions from livestock. Historically, enteric methane was seen as an inefficiency in production and wasted dietary energy. This is still the case, but now methane is seen more as a pollutant and potent greenhouse gas. The gold standard method for measuring methane production from individual animals is a respiration chamber, which is used for metabolic studies. This approach to quantifying individual animal emissions has been used in research for over 100 years; however, it is not suitable for monitoring large numbers of animals in their natural environment on commercial farms. In recent years, several more mobile monitoring systems discussed here have been developed for direct measurement of enteric methane emissions from individual animals. Several factors (diet composition, rumen microbial community, and their relationship with morphology and physiology of the host animal) drive enteric methane production in ruminant populations. A reliable method for monitoring individual animal emissions in large populations would allow (1) genetic selection for low emitters, (2) benchmarking of farms, and (3) more accurate national inventory accounting.


N. Shurpali, A. K. Agarwal, & V. Srivastava (Eds.), (2019). Measuring enteric methane emissions from individual ruminant animals in their natural environment. doi:10.1007/978-981-13-3272-2_8

Book Type Edited Book
Acceptance Date Oct 8, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 1, 2018
Publication Date Feb 2, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 22, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2019
Electronic ISSN 2522-8374
Publisher Springer Nature
Pages 111-126
Series Title Energy, Environment, and Sustainability
Book Title Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Challenges, Technologies and Solutions
ISBN 9789811332715
Public URL
Publisher URL


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