In a move that aims to cut down the emission of greenhouse gases, Australian scientists are looking forward to breed burp-less sheep.
Australia's agriculture sector is the second largest contributor of greenhouse gases after the energy sector with nearly 16percent of the country's total emissions.
AdvertisementTwo-thirds of this figure is produced by livestock and 66percent of these emissions are released as methane from the guts of grazing livestock like sheep and cattle.
Australia's Sheep Co-operative Research Center is now carrying out a first-ever study into 700 sheep with 20 different genetic lines. Each sheep is fed and then made to enter a booth its burp output is measured.
According to Dr Roger Hegarty of the study team, sheep burped large amounts of methane and they were trying to find ways to minimize it.
"We're looking into how to reduce emissions from sheep - all over Australia teams are testing different approaches: changing the microbes in the gut, changing their diet, or changing the genetics of the animal," the Courier Mail quoted him as saying.
"Our sheep studies are (primarily) aiming to find out if there is genetic control over methane production and, if so, is that a good thing to pursue?"
Dr Hegarty added: "Methane is the exhaust from livestock, and - just as you can't put your hand over the exhaust pipe of a car and expect it to keep running - we're treading carefully to reduce emissions without causing other problems."
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