Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 42, Issue 1–2, pp 99–112 | Cite as

Methanogenesis in monogastric animals

  • Bent Borg Jensen


Studies of methanogenic bacteria present in monogastric animals are still scarce. Methanogens have been isolated from faeces of rat, horse, pig, monkey, baboon, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giant panda, goose, turkey and chicken. The predominant methanogen in all except the chicken and turkey is species of Methanobrevibacterium. The chicken and turkey harbour species of Methanogenium. In pig the population of methanogenic bacteria is more than 30 times as dense in the distal colon as in the caecum. This finding is in agreement with the finding that the rate of methane production is much higher in the colon than in the ceacum. The amount of methane excreted clearly seems to depend on the amount of non-starch polysaccharide intake.

The directly measured methane production rate in pigs is from 3.3 to 3.8 times lower than the amount expected from stoichiometric estimates. These data, together with data showing that only small net amounts of hydrogen and small amounts of methane are produced in the ceacum and proximal colon where the microbial activity is high, clearly indicate that hydrogen sinks other than methane production are involved in hydrogen removal in the hindgut of pigs and probably also in other monogastric animals.

Methane production by monogastric animals is lower than methane production by ruminants. However, methane production by large herbivorous monogastric animals such as horses, mules and asses is substantial (up to 80 l per animal per day). Methane production by rodents and avians is low. In general, methane production by wild animals is lower than methane production by domestic animals. It is concluded that the contribution of monogastric animals to the global methane emission is negligible, as it only represent about 5% of the total methane emission by domestic and wild animals of 80 Tg per year.


Methane Production Methane Emission Wild Animal Methanogenesis Giant Panda 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bent Borg Jensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Research Centre FoulumDanish Institute of Animal ScienceTjeleDenmark

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