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Scientists say feeding cows garlic could save the Earth.

Byline: ROBIN TURNER

WELSHscientists have come up with a cunning plan to save the planet fromclimate change - by stopping cow flatulence with garlic.

Foul-smelling methane from the hind quarters of ruminants like cows is one of the major factors behind global warming, pumping more than 500 billion litres into the atmosphere every day.

The problem is responsible for about one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, even more than all transportation globally.

But hi-tech biotechnology company Neem Biotech Ltd of St Mellons, Cardiff, has come up with a new type of cattle feed infused with allicin, the active agent in garlic which gives it its pungent smell and taste.

Allicin reduces the growth of methaneproducing bacterial colonies in the first of cows' four stomachs.

Tests on cow stomach simulators have show a reduction of 90% while reductions of 15-20% have been achieved so far in tests on actual animals.

Professor Jeremy Stone, a director of the biotech firm, said: "The field trials are showing a very significant reduction in the amount of methane produced.

"And it also appears the animals that take the garlic feed grow a little more, as well as requiring fewer antibiotics.

"There are lots of medicinal benefits to this feed apart from reducing the methane produced by cows."

The Welsh company plans to give its new feed, which they've called Mootral, free to farmers.

Instead, they would make their money from carbon offsetting, with the hope that carbon emitters like airlines would invest in Mootral by buying "carbon credits" to balance the amount of greenhouse gasses they emit.

Aside from cutting methane emissions, Neem Biotech's use of garlic could even extend to combating MRSA in hospitals where an allicin-infused cream produced by the company is currently being used to fight superbug infections.

The Welsh researchers' plans are the latest in a long line of uses for the versatile plant.

Believed to be one of the first wild plants domesticated by early humans, and first found in the mountains of Central Asia, garlic has long been reputed to restore virility, cure leprosy, keep scorpions and fleas at bay and, of course, repel vampires.
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 25, 2009
Words:356
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