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J Anim Sci. 2012 Apr;90(4):1364-70. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-4011.

Methane production by red-necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus).

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Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Groennegaardsvej 2, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C., Denmark.


The claimed low production of CH(4) by kangaroos and marsupials in general has been questioned because of a lack of data. The extent of their CH(4) production is of interest both from the point of view of discussing meat production of marsupials and as a basis for developing methods to reduce CH(4) production from ruminants. In the present experiment, the CH(4) production of 8 red-necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) was measured of which 4 were fed 2 different diets in an open-circuit respiration chamber. These results were compared with a newly developed, inexpensive, and simple method that does not influence the behavior of the animal, and where the ratio between CH(4) and CO(2) is measured and used together with the calculated CO(2) to quantify the CH(4) production. The experiment demonstrated that the wallabies produce CH(4). However, the amount of CH(4) produced by these wallabies was between 1.6 and 2.5 L/d equivalent to 1.6 and 2.5% of GE or 2.2% and 3.5% of DE intake and 0.22 L/BW, kg(0.75). This is between 25 and 33% of what can be expected from ruminants fed the same diet. Based on the uneven release of CH(4) with time, it is most likely that the CH(4) is excreted through flatulence and not through breathing as is seen in ruminants. The experiments also showed that a reasonably accurate determination of the CH(4) production of a group of animals can be obtained by simply measuring the CH(4)/CO(2) ratio over a limited time span. This may represent the situation in a natural setting better than measurements in a respiration chamber. It was found that the CH(4)/CO(2) ratio in itself represents a reasonable prediction of the proportion of feed GE that is lost as CH(4), and that this method offers new opportunities for CH(4) measurements on a large number of animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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