Methane gas released as flatulence from livestock is a significant source of greenhouse gas, but entrepreneurs may have found a ready antidote to the problem: garlic. Mootral (“moo” and “neutral”), produced by Neem Biotech in Cardiff, Wales, contains a natural garlic extract—allicin—that when fed to cows and sheep limits the growth of certain methane-producing bacteria in the animals’ digestive systems. In two small trials, methane output in cows and sheep was reduced by 15 percent. David Williams, chair and CEO, expects further research will allow output to be cut in half; simulations using laboratory equipment have reached as high as 94 percent.
Tests are also being done to determine the best way to feed the natural antibiotic to the animals—as a food supplement or in their drinking water—and whether or not the allicin might taint their milk. But Williams is optimistic that the product will be available for livestock within two years.