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Volume 2010, Article ID 945785, 11 pages
Review Article

Methanogens: Methane Producers of the Rumen and Mitigation Strategies

1Department of Animal & Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1
2Department of Animal Science, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA

Received 15 August 2010; Revised 3 November 2010; Accepted 7 December 2010

Academic Editor: Reinhard Hensel

Copyright © 2010 Sarah E. Hook et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Methanogens are the only known microorganisms capable of methane production, making them of interest when investigating methane abatement strategies. A number of experiments have been conducted to study the methanogen population in the rumen of cattle and sheep, as well as the relationship that methanogens have with other microorganisms. The rumen methanogen species differ depending on diet and geographical location of the host, as does methanogenesis, which can be reduced by modifying dietary composition, or by supplementation of monensin, lipids, organic acids, or plant compounds within the diet. Other methane abatement strategies that have been investigated are defaunation and vaccines. These mitigation methods target the methanogen population of the rumen directly or indirectly, resulting in varying degrees of efficacy. This paper describes the methanogens identified in the rumens of cattle and sheep, as well as a number of methane mitigation strategies that have been effective in vivo.