NPR

Mysteries of the Moo-crobiome: Could Tweaking Cow Gut Bugs Improve Beef?

Microbe-free bovine life would be rough. Cows rely on single-cell accomplices for their digestion, so scientists are looking for ways to use these bugs to improve cows' eating and burping habits.
Someday, we might be able to customize the microbes we feed cows to help reduce their methane emissions. Source: Maskot

Like the human gut, the belly of every bovine contains a microbial engine — engines, really — since cows have four-part stomachs. Those unicellular inhabitants do most of the digestive acrobatics of processing a cow's gnarly, fibrous diet of grains, hay, and grass. They're also responsible for some of the cattle industry's greenhouse gas contributions, since, as it turns out, cows don't make methane. Bacteria make methane.

Given the microbes' giant role

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