September 4, 2009

Australian Scientists Introduce Reef And Beef Project

Scientists in Australia have launched a new project that will give new meaning to the term "surf and turf."

Under the so-called "reef and beef" program, researchers Tony Parker, from James Cook University, and partner Rocky de Nys, plan to feed cows seaweed in order to reduce their carbon emissions.

The researchers have estimated that cow flatulence accounts for 20 percent of man-made methane emissions. They hope to lower that statistic by introducing a new diet to cattle in Australia.

"Seaweed, algae and other sea grasses have been proven to be much more digestible than land grass because they have less cellulose and more starch," Rocky de Nys told AFP.

"A better diet for cattle, then, will encourage better digestion and thus lead to a decrease in methane emissions."

Livestock in Australia accounts for 12 percent of the country's yearly emissions.

Scientists believe the project could be specifically beneficial for the Great Barrier Reef by allowing new ways to clean up the waste flowing through nearby waterways.

"I like to call it the 'reef and beef' project because it has far reaching implications that come full circle: starting with seaweed, taking in the beef and aquaculture industries, and extending back out to the sea to help conserve the Great Barrier Reef," said Parker.


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