In news- An Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institute has developed an anti-methanogenic feed supplement ‘Harit Dhara’.
- Methane’s global warming potential is 25 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 100 years, making it a more potent greenhouse gas.
- Methane is produced by animals having rumen, where the plant material they eat like cellulose, fibre, starch and sugars gets fermented or broken down by microorganisms prior to further digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Carbohydrate fermentation leads to production of CO2 and hydrogen that are used as substrates by archaea, the microbes in the rumen which produce methane.
- This gas is then released through these animals’ flatulence, when they belch, or through their manure.
- Tropical plants containing tannins – bitter and astringent chemical compounds are known to suppress or remove protozoa from the rumen.
- Harit Dhara has been prepared using condensed and hydrolysable tannin-rich plant-based sources which acts by decreasing the population of protozoa microbes in the rumen.
- It also changes the composition of the volatile fatty acids that are the end-products of rumen fermentation (along with hydrogen and CO2).
- An average lactating cow or buffalo in India emits around 200 litres of methane per day.
- Feeding Harit Dhara not only cuts down their methane emissions by 17-20%, but also results in higher milk production and body weight gain.