Before starting her master studies in Wageningen, Sanne Klerx studied ‘Biology and Medical Laboratory Research’ at an Applied University. Now she is in her second year of the master Animal Sciences, and her master thesis at the Animal Nutrition group is all about feeding strategies to reduce methane emission by ruminants.
"Before I came to Wageningen, I did the bachelor ‘Biology and Medical Laboratory Research’ at Avans Applied University. By the time that I graduated for my Bachelor, I decided that it was not the right moment for me to be a working woman already. I’ve been talking about this with a study coach, friends and my parents. I was looking for more depth in the study material, and I wanted to increase and broaden my knowledge. I grew up at a dairy farm and my interest in the agricultural sector was still growing. Therefore, I decided to continue my education with the master Animal Sciences at Wageningen University. So here we are, in the second year of my master Animal Sciences."
"I have chosen to do the specialisation in Nutrition and Metabolism, so now I am working on my major thesis at this department. In my opinion, animal nutrition plays a major role in the optimisation of the human edible feed efficiency of ruminants (the amount of milk per 1 kg DM of feed). Another interesting factor is the environmental impact of agricultural production. Given those facts, I was lucky to do a thesis on the subject of methane emission. Nowadays, a lot of research for mitigating methane emission from ruminants has been done.
Methane emission by ruminants is a hot topic because methane is one of the three most important greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect is caused by the absorption of solar infrared radiation by the earth’s surface and by gases. Due to this effect, the temperature on earth is still rising. This is not desirable for biodiversity. Ruminants produce a major part of the tonnes of methane per year worldwide. Methane is formed as a by-product of microbial fermentation of carbohydrates and amino acids in the rumen and hindgut of ruminants. The diet of ruminants has a major effect on the enteric methane production. Measures in feeding strategies, for example increasing the amount of concentrates in the diet of ruminants, may lead to a decrease in methane production. However, decreasing the forage to concentrate ratio in the diet may counteract with the aim of human edible feed efficiency (the amount of milk per 1 kg DM of feed). Therefore, the use of feed additives to mitigate the production and emission of methane will be a suitable alternative.
The project is challenging and a lot of fun. Different proceedings need to be performed; practical work at the animal research facility, like feeding the cows, obtaining samples and cleaning their stables, but on the other hand, doing a literature study and working in the laboratory is also part of it. Currently, I am still working on this project. I hope to obtain interesting results so the solution for mitigating methane emission comes a little step closer."