Scientists are working on a variety of grass that cuts the level of methane emitted by cows, according to the May issue of the Society of Chemical Industry’s magazine Chemistry & Industry.

Scientists at Gramina, a joint biotech venture by Australia’s Molecular Plant Breeding Cooperative Research Centre and New Zealand rural services group PGG Wrightson Genomics, are developing a grass that will not only cut the amount of methane cows burp up when chewing their cuds, but also grow in hotter climates.

The researchers use sense-suppression technology to prevent the expression Of the enzyme O-methyl transferase. Suppressing this enzyme leads to an increase in the digestibility of the grass without compromising its structural properties, and therefore less burps and less methane occur. They have already tested this modification in temperate grasses in the lab and glasshouses and are planning field trials.