World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 2747–2755 | Cite as

Mitigation of ruminant methane production: current strategies, constraints and future options

  • Muhammad Farooq Iqbal
  • Yan-Fen Cheng
  • Wei-Yun Zhu
  • Basit Zeshan


Mitigating methane losses from cattle has economic as well as environmental benefits. The aim of this paper is to review the current approaches in relation to associated advantages and disadvantages and future options to reduce enteric methane emission from cattle. Current technologies can be broadly grouped into those that increase productivity of the animal (improved nutrition strategies) so that less methane is produced per unit of meat or milk, and those that directly modify the rumen fermentation so that less methane is produced in total. Data suggest that many of these practices are not appropriate for long term mitigation of methane emissions in ruminants because of their constraints. So it is necessity to develop long term strategies in suppressing methane production. An integrated research investigating animal, plant, microbe and nutrient level strategies would offer a long term solution of methane production. Genetic selection of animals, vaccination, probiotics, prebiotics and plant improvement are the most promising options of all the future approaches discussed. These approaches will reduce enteric methane production without any hazard to animal or environment.


Mitigation Ruminant methane Constraints Future options 



The authors would like to thank the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30530560) for support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Farooq Iqbal
    • 1
  • Yan-Fen Cheng
    • 1
  • Wei-Yun Zhu
    • 1
  • Basit Zeshan
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, College of Animal Science and TechnologyNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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