(NewsTarget) Rising gas prices and global warming issues have spurred an increased interest in clean cars, but a report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization suggests that the real culprit for the latter problem isn't the car but the cow.
The 400-page report, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, states that the world's surging cattle herds are the No. 1 threat to the climate, forests and other wildlife, as they cause environmental problems from acid rain and the introduction of alien species to the poisoning of drinking water and the destruction of ocean life. The pollution from cattle ranching washes down into the sea and causes "dead zones" where there is no ocean life. Up to 8,108 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico is such a zone due to beef production wastes washed down by the Mississippi river.
Second story - There is something redeeming about the cow. Who isn't interested in alternative energy? Of course we all are!
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say cows might one day help meet the rise in demand for alternative energy sources.
Ohio State University researchers used microbe-rich fluid from cows to generate electricity in a new, small cellulose-based microbial fuel cell.
Doctoral student Hamid Rismani-Yazdi, lead author of the study, said experiments showed it took two of the new cells to produce enough electricity to recharge an AA-sized battery. That power was produced from the breakdown of cellulose by a variety of bacteria in rumen fluid -- the microbe-rich fluid found in a cow's rumen, the largest chamber of a cow's stomach.
To create power, researchers fill a microbial fuel cell with cellulose and rumen fluid.
"Energy is produced as the bacteria break down cellulose, which is one of the most abundant resources on our planet," said Rismani-Yazdi.
The research -- led by Professors Olli Tuovinen and Ann Christy -- was reported this week in Boston during a meeting of the American Chemical Society.