Measurement of Methane Production from Ruminants

  • Bhatta, Raghavendra (National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology) ;
  • Enishi, Osamu (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science) ;
  • Kurihara, Mitsunori (National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science)
  • Published : 2007.08.01


On a global scale agriculture and in particular enteric fermentation in ruminants is reported to produce about one fourth (21 to 25%) of the total anthropogenic emissions of methane ($CH_4$). Methane is produced during the anaerobic fermentation of hydrolyzed dietary carbohydrates in the rumen and represents an energy loss to the host besides contributing to emissions of greenhouse gases into the environment. However, there appears to be uncertainty in the $CH_4$ estimation from livestock due to the limited availability of data to document the variability at the farm level and also due to the significant impact of diet on the enteric $CH_4$ production. The methane mitigation strategies require robust prediction of emissions from rumen. There are many methods available which would be suitable for measuring $CH_4$ produced from the various stages of animal production. However, several factors need to be considered in order to select the most appropriate technique like the cost, level of accuracy required and the scale and design of the experiments to be undertaken. Selection of any technique depends on the accuracy as each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Screening of mitigation strategies may be evaluated using individual animal before large-scale trials on groups of animals are carried out. In this review various methods for the estimation of methane production from ruminants as well as for the determination of methane production potential of ruminant feeds are discussed. The advantages and disadvantages of the methods starting from respiration chamber, ventilated hood, facemask, sulphur hexafluoride ($SF_6$) tracer technique, prediction equations and meteorological methods to in vitro methods are detailed.


Methane;Measurement Technique;Ruminant


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