Challenges in the measurement of emissions of nitrous oxide and methane from livestock sector

  • Araceli D. Larios
  • Satinder Kaur BrarEmail author
  • Antonio Avalos Ramírez
  • Stéphane Godbout
  • Fabiola Sandoval-Salas
  • Joahnn H. Palacios
Review paper


Over the past two decades, the interest to decrease the emission levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) has increased. The livestock sector has been put under continuous supervision and regulation because it is an important source of GHG emissions. In 2012, it was estimated that 3.46 Gton CO2-eq was released from this sector, methane (CH4) being the gas with the highest contribution (43 %), followed by nitrous oxide (21 %). In order to determine real emissions, it is necessary to use precise and reproducible measuring methods which can be complex and expensive. The challenges in these methods are focused on achieving an accurate assessment and monitoring of gas emissions, developing monitoring systems for the continuous measurement and implementation of methodologies for their validation in field in order to understand the complex nature of environmental variables affecting gas production. Different techniques for the measurement of CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions are reviewed and discussed in this research. The passive flux sampling to measure emissions of these GHGs has been identified as an interesting alternative technique because it is practical, low cost and robust. This kind of sampler is highly adequate to measure emissions of N2O and CH4 originating from some sources of the livestock sector, but at this moment, no prototypes are commercially available and thus more research is necessary in this field.


Greenhouse gas emissions Measuring techniques Livestock sector Methane Nitrous oxide Passive flux sampler 



Our sincere thanks go to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the economic support by means of the Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), and INRS-ETE to the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Perote (ITSPe) for the support and collaboration in the research stage of main author, and to the Program for the Professional development of Professors (Prodep-Mexico) for the grant that let to perform this research stage.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Araceli D. Larios
    • 1
    • 4
  • Satinder Kaur Brar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonio Avalos Ramírez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stéphane Godbout
    • 3
  • Fabiola Sandoval-Salas
    • 1
    • 4
  • Joahnn H. Palacios
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), Centre Eau, Terre & EnvironnementQuébecCanada
  2. 2.Centre National en Électrochimie et en Technologies Environnementales (CNETE)ShawiniganCanada
  3. 3.Institut de Recherche et de Développement en Agroenvironnement (IRDA)QuébecCanada
  4. 4.Instituto Tecnológico Superior de PerotePerote, VeracruzMexico

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