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Review Paper
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2011;24(2): 285-294.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2011.r.03    Published online December 21, 2010.
Some Prophylactic Options to Mitigate Methane Emission from Animal Agriculture in Japan
Junichi Takahashi
The abatement of methane emission from ruminants is an important global issue due to its contribution to greenhouse gas with carbon dioxide. Methane is generated in the rumen by methanogens (archaea) that utilize metabolic hydrogen (H2) to reduce carbon dioxide, and is a significant electron sink in the rumen ecosystem. Therefore, the competition for hydrogen used for methanogenesis with alternative reductions of rumen microbes should be an effective option to reduce rumen methanogenesis. Some methanogens parasitically survive on the surface of ciliate protozoa, so that defaunation or decrease in protozoa number might contribute to abate methanogenesis. The most important issue for mitigation of rumen methanogenesis with manipulators is to secure safety for animals and their products and the environment. In this respect, prophylactic effects of probiotics, prebiotics and miscellaneous compounds to mitigate rumen methanogenesis have been developed instead of antibiotics, ionophores such as monensin, and lasalocid in Japan. Nitrate suppresses rumen methanogenesis by its reducing reaction in the rumen. However, excess intake of nitrate causes intoxication due to nitrite accumulation, which induces methemoglobinemia. The nitrite accumulation is attributed to a relatively higher rate of nitrate reduction to nitrite than nitrite to ammonia via nitroxyl and hydroxylamine. The in vitro and in vivo trials have been conducted to clarify the prophylactic effects of L-cysteine, some strains of lactic acid bacteria and yeast and/or 1-4 galacto-oligosaccharide on nitrate-nitrite intoxication and methanogenesis. The administration of nitrate with 1-4 galacto-oligosaccharide, Candida kefyr, and Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis were suggested to possibly control rumen methanogenesis and prevent nitrite formation in the rumen. For prebiotics, nisin which is a bacteriocin produced by Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis has been demonstrated to abate rumen methanogenesis in the same manner as monensin. A protein resistant anti-microbe (PRA) has been isolated from Lactobacillus plantarum as a manipulator to mitigate rumen methanogenesis. Recently, hydrogen peroxide was identified as a part of the manipulating effect of PRA on rumen methanogenesis. The suppressing effects of secondary metabolites from plants such as saponin and tannin on rumen methanogenesis have been examined. Especially, yucca schidigera extract, sarsaponin (steroidal glycosides), can suppress rumen methanogenesis thereby improving protein utilization efficiency. The cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), or cashew shell oil, which is a natural resin found in the honeycomb structure of the cashew nutshell has been found to mitigate rumen methanogenesis. In an attempt to seek manipulators in the section on methane belching from ruminants, the arrangement of an inventory of mitigation technologies available for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) in the Kyoto mechanism has been advancing to target ruminant livestock in Asian and Pacific regions.
Keywords: Methane; Nitrate; L-cysteine; Probiotics; Prebiotics; Sarsaponin

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