Feb 12, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Oregano May Reduce the Methane in Cow Burps

It’s great on pizzas, salads, garlic bread and beef, but did you know that oregano is also good inside of beef … especially when it’s still on the hoof? Researchers are testing a new theory that feeding oregano to cattle can reduce the amount of methane in their burps by as much as 25%. When you consider that there are about 1.5 billion cows and bulls worldwide, each emitting between 70 and 120 kg of methane per year, it’s probably worth figuring out ways to get them to eat hay pizzas.

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Fresh and dried oregano

Researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark have begun a four-year study to determine if adding oregano to cattle feed will reduce methane emissions in burps and by how much. Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum) is known for its antimicrobial properties but it’s not known how it can be introduced to a cow’s rumen - the internal chamber where microbes ferment feed and create methane.

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There's plenty of room in the rumen for plenty of methane burps

The project will test the effectiveness of oregano added to hay or grass by placing dairy cows in special methane-measuring chambers. The cows will be monitored for their reactions to different types of oregano and differing amounts in their feed.

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The oregano has to satisfy a lot of cows

In addition to reducing methane emissions, the oregano solution, if effective, will appeal to both farmers and consumers looking for organic growing methods and foods. The researchers will test the effects of the oregano on the taste of the cattle’s milk, cheese and meat products. Testing has already shown that oregano positively affects the fatty acid composition of milk. The benefits of oregano are good for everyone, says project manager Kai Grevsen.

We know that the market for dairy products is characterized by an increasing willingness to pay more for milk with special qualities or values, especially organic, and we hope that in the project we will have a good and balanced dialogue with consumers about the climate and cattle production.

If you’re not ready to give up beef to reduce methane in the Earth’s atmosphere, are you willing to eat hamburgers with a hint of oregano?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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