Metabolomics: Methane reduction in dairy cows

Post-doctoral researcher: Elsa Antunes Fernandes, PhD


Methane emission from cows constitutes more than half of the total dairy-farm greenhouse gas emissions. Methane is produced predominantly in the rumen as a result of microbial fermentation of feed components and is approximately 25 times more damaging than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming. To improve the sustainability of dairy production in the Netherlands, the dairy sector is aiming for a 30% reduction in dairy cow methane emission by 2020.

This project will contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by means of a multidisciplinary approach. The project will develop an indicator for methane emission from individual cows, will quantify and exploit the genetic variation in methane emission between cows, will characterise the composition and functioning of the microorganisms in the rumen of the cow and will improve the understanding of how methane emission is influenced by the interaction between the genetics of the cow, the microorganisms in the rumen of the cow and cow feedstuffs.