Methane is one of the significant green house gases that can lead to global warming. The largest contributing factor to methane gas production comes from the world’s livestock. Cow belches, a major source of greenhouse gases, could be decreased by an unusual feed supplement developed by a Penn State dairy scientist. Many other mammals, such as cattle, dogs, and sheep also burp. In the case of ruminants, the gas expelled is actually methane produced as a byproduct of the animal’s digestive process. Anaerobic organisms such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and methanogenic archaea produce this effect. An average cow may emit between 542 liters and 600 liters (if in a field) of methane per day through burping, making commercially farmed cattle a major contributor to the greenhouse effect. At Penn State in a series of laboratory experiments and a live animal test, an oregano based feed supplement not only decreased methane emissions in dairy cows by 40 percent, but also improved milk production, according to Alexander Hristov, an associate professor of dairy nutrition. Hristov first screened hundreds of essential oils, plants and various compounds in the laboratory before arriving at oregano as a possible solution. During the experiments, oregano consistently reduced methane without demonstrating any negative effects. Hristov said that some compounds that are found in oregano, including carvacrol, geraniol and thymol, seem to play a more significant role in methane suppression. Identifying the active compounds is important because pure compounds are easier to produce commercially and more economical for farmers to use. Can oregano work on humans as well? That would be a simple solution to taking care of anyone’s family related methane issues. I guess we could just eat more foods that utilize oregano in its recipes, something often seen in Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Latin American cuisines.