Japan’s agricultural sector produced 32.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2022, accounting for 2.8% of the country’s total emissions. About a quarter of this stems from intestinal fermentation within livestock. Ruminants – grazing animals such as cattle, sheep and goats that obtain nutrients from a plant-based diet – release enteric methane as they decompose and ferment plant material.
To combat this, researchers are exploring feed additives and feeding management systems that reduce methane emissions. But it remains confined to certain breeds and feeding environments.
Now, a collaborative project has employed biomarkers to reveal more about the metabolic and nutritional characteristics associated with enteric methane emissions in Japanese black cattle. The research findings could open new avenues for researchers exploring methane reduction.
Professor Sanggun Roh of Tohoku University’s Graduate School of Agricultural Science, working with the Hyogo Prefectural Technology Center of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, examines the relationships between physiological parameters such as blood metabolites, hormones, amino acids, rumen fermentation, and liver transcriptome. used to assess. Methane excretion and metabolic and nutritional characteristics.
“We found that cattle exhibit high enteric methane to high butyrate and low propionate ratios,” Roh said.
Examining Steyr’s blood metabolites, Roh and his team also found that the concentration of amino acids decreased, while ketone bodies and insulin increased in cattle with significant concentrations of methane. Meanwhile, differentially expressed genes in the liver related to amino acid and glucose metabolism, such as SERPINI2, RRAD, SLC7A5 and APT6, were upregulated or downregulated during the late fattening phase of feeding.
Cattle with high methane emissions actively used amino acids to replenish the energy lost during methane production, leading to reduced blood amino acid levels and increased blood insulin concentration. This was done without changing the growth and quality of the cattle’s muscles.
“Our results suggest that anatomical differential and hepatic transcriptomes can be applied to monitor methane emissions levels from Japanese black steer,” Roh said. “We hope that the relationship in this study will lead to new perspectives.”
Details of the research were published in the journal scientific report On July 1, 2022.
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