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Methane emission by adult ostriches (Struthio camelus)

Frei, S., Dittmann, M. T., Reutlinger, C., Ortmann, S., Hatt, J.-M., Kreuzer, M. and Clauss, M. (2015) Methane emission by adult ostriches (Struthio camelus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 180. pp. 1-5. ISSN 0010-406X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.10.019


Ostriches (Struthio camelus) are herbivorous birds with a digestive physiology that shares several similarities with that of herbivorous mammals. Previous reports, however, claimed a very low methane emission from ostriches,which would be clearly different from mammals. If this could be confirmed, ostrich meat would represent a very attractive alternative to ruminant— and generally mammalian—meat by representing a particularly low-emission agricultural form of production.We individually measured, by chamber respirometry, the amount of oxygen consumed as well as carbon dioxide and methane emitted from six adult ostriches (body mass 108.3± 8.3 kg) during a 24-hour period when fed a pelleted lucerne diet. While oxygen consumption was in the range of values previously reported for ostriches, supporting the validity of our experimental setup, methane production was, at 17.5±3.2 L d−1,much higher than previously reported for this species, and was of the magnitude expected for similar-sized, nonruminant mammalian herbivores. These results suggest that methane emission is similar between ostriches and nonruminant mammalian herbivores and that the environmental burden of these animals is comparable. The findings furthermore indicate that it appears justified to use currently available scaling equations for methane production of nonruminant mammals in paleo-reconstructions of methane production of herbivorous dinosaurs.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Food Production and Quality Division > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)
ID Code:66186
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ratites Fermentation Herbivory Digestion Methanogenesis

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