BGU Finds a Way to Stop Cow Farts

Green Prophet — Prof. Itzik Mizrahi, of BGU’s Department of Life Sciences and a member of the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev (NIBN), has found a way to successfully manipulate a cow’s microbiome for the first time.

Prof. Itzik Mizrahi

Prof. Mizrahi has investigated the microbiome of cows, fish and other species to prepare us for a world shaped by climate change.

“Now that we know we can influence the microbiome development, we can use this knowledge to modulate microbiome composition to lower the environmental impact of cows on our planet by guiding them to our desired outcomes,” says Prof. Mizrahi.

By learning to control the microbiome, Prof. Mizrahi can prevent cows from emitting methane, one of the most serious greenhouse gases. Reducing methane emissions from cows can effectively reduce global warming.

Prof. Mizrahi’s three-year experiment studied a group of 50 cows, that were then divided into two groups. One group gave birth naturally, and the other gave birth through cesarean section.

That difference was enough to change the development and composition of the microbiome of the cows from each group.

Together with a research team at UCLA headed by Prof. Eran Halperin, Prof. Mizrahi’s findings enabled the development of an algorithm to predict how the microbiomes evolve over time.

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