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Cow methane vaccine could be emissions game-changer

Mitigating New Zealand's agricultural emissions is an ongoing process, but the development of a methane vaccine for cows and other livestock could be a game changer.

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New Zealand is a proud farming nation, although the economic benefits bring with them environmental drawbacks. Source: Seven Sharp

A homegrown group is on the cusp of a revolutionary result with it. 

The vaccine works by triggering the cow's immune system to create antibodies that stop methane-producing microbes from working, reducing a cow's gas production and its contributions of greenhouse gases.

Jeremy Hill, chairman of The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium, told Seven Sharp the vaccine works the same as most vaccines.

A young calf (file). Source: istock.com

"We’ve shown it can work in the laboratory," he said.

Cattle are first in line, but it's hoped the vaccine could expand across other species of livestock, helping reduce the environmental footprint of one of our biggest industries.

Hill said the vaccine will take at least five years to get to market if trials are successful.