Bill Gates investment aims to tackle cow burps

Bill Gates is backing a firm that’s working to reduce the harmful effects of cow burps. The billionaire co-founder of Microsoft has invested in Australian climate

technology startup Rumin8, which is developing a dietary supplement that stops cows from burping out methane — a damaging greenhouse gas impacting climate change. Due to

the way their digestive systems function, cows, along with other animals such as goats and deer, belch out a lot of methane. Research suggests that, in the U.S. for example,

cattle are the main contributor to methane emissions. With that in mind, we could certainly do with fewer animal burps. Bill Gates is trying to help. His support comes via

Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), an organization he set up in 2015 to back cutting-edge companies working on green projects. A recent funding round led by BEV secured $12

million for Perth-based Rumin8, enabling it to continue its development work prior to commercializing its supplement. Rumin8’s supplement is a synthetic version of red

seaweed, a foodstuff that’s been found to prevent the creation of methane in a cow’s digestive system. It works by inhibiting a specific enzyme involved in the production of

methane as a cow digests its food. Earlier research using real seaweed produced promising results, but the cows rejected the salty taste, leading some scientists to direct

their attention toward more palatable supplements.