Do Cows Like Spicy Food?
That's Right, Research Says Curry Seasoning Might Help Cut Methane Emissions
by Helen Zhang, age 12
Developing new ways to cut back on greenhouse gases is a high priority for scientists. Researchers in the United Kingdom recently discovered a most unusual way to reduce agricultural methane emissions.
Methane is one of the most damaging of the greenhouse gases. Methane, which is emitted by animals, is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere. A single sheep can emit about 0.7 cubic feet of methane per day through belching. Nearly 18 cubic feet is released by cows.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Newcastle University revealed that curry may reduce the amount of methane emitted. Coriander and turmeric, two spices used to season curry dishes, have a dramatic antibiotic effect within the stomachs of sheep and cows. These researchers say that adding curry to animal feed could reduce methane emissions by up to 40 percent.
This could mean changes for the agricultural industry as farmers alter their feeding methods to help reduce greenhouse gases. Recent news reports say a number of leading scientists believe this relatively simple strategy would work.
[Sources: Popular Science; Associated Press]