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Vaccine. 2004 Sep 28;22(29-30):3976-85.

Reducing methane emissions in sheep by immunization against rumen methanogens.

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CSIRO Livestock Industries, Centre for Environment and Life Sciences, Private Bag 5, Wembley, Western Australia, Perth 6913, Australia.


This work was conducted to determine if methane emissions from sheep immunized with an anti-methanogen vaccine were significantly lower than methane emissions from non-immunized sheep, to test the effectiveness of two different vaccine formulations (VF) on methane abatement, and to compare methane emissions measured using a closed-circuit respiration chamber and the sulphur-hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique. Thirty mature wether sheep were randomly allocated to three treatment groups (n = 10). One group received an immunization of adjuvant only on days 0 and 153 (control), a second group received an immunization with a 3-methanogen mix on days 0 and 153 (VF3 + 3), and a third group received an immunization of a 7-methanogen mix on day 0 followed by a 3-methanogen mix on day 153 (VF7 + 3). Four weeks post-secondary immunization, there was a significant 7.7% reduction in methane production per kg dry matter intake in the VF7 + 3 group compared to the controls (P = 0.051). However, methane emissions from sheep immunized with VF7 + 3 were not significantly different when compared to the sheep in the control group (P = 0.883). The average IgG and IgA antibody titres in both plasma and saliva of the VF3 + 3 immunized sheep were four to nine times higher than those immunized with VF7 + 3 (P< 0.001) at both 3 and 6 weeks post-secondary immunization. Data also revealed that SF6 methane estimates were consistently higher than the respiration chamber estimates and that there was no significant correlation between the SF6 methane estimates and the respiration chamber methane estimates (R2 = 0.11).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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