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Animals (Basel). 2012 Apr 13;2(2):160-83. doi: 10.3390/ani2020160.

Methods for Measuring and Estimating Methane Emission from Ruminants.

Author information

1
Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Grønnegårdsvej 2, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. imld@life.ku.dk.
2
Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University, AU-Foulum, P.O. Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark. AnneLouise.Helwing@agrsci.dk.
3
AgroTech, Agro Food Park 15, DK-8200 Aarhus N, Denmark. ncn@agrotech.dk.
4
Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Grønnegårdsvej 2, DK-1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. jom@life.ku.dk.

Abstract

This paper is a brief introduction to the different methods used to quantify the enteric methane emission from ruminants. A thorough knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of these methods is very important in order to plan experiments, understand and interpret experimental results, and compare them with other studies. The aim of the paper is to describe the principles, advantages and disadvantages of different methods used to quantify the enteric methane emission from ruminants. The best-known methods: Chambers/respiration chambers, SF₆ technique and in vitro gas production technique and the newer CO₂ methods are described. Model estimations, which are used to calculate national budget and single cow enteric emission from intake and diet composition, are also discussed. Other methods under development such as the micrometeorological technique, combined feeder and CH₄ analyzer and proxy methods are briefly mentioned. Methods of choice for estimating enteric methane emission depend on aim, equipment, knowledge, time and money available, but interpretation of results obtained with a given method can be improved if knowledge about the disadvantages and advantages are used in the planning of experiments.

KEYWORDS:

estimation methods; limitations; methane; ruminants

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