September 2013Andrea Minuti is a young researcher at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Piacenza, based in Italy. He is proud to be born in a family of farmers characterized by a modern intensive farming.
He is currently a member of the team of Italian researchers involved in the European Union project, RuminOmics, that involves about a dozen prestigious European institutes of research. RuminOmics began based on the idea that sustainable agriculture must take into account the efficiency of animal production. Higher animal efficiency will lessen the unavoidable negative impact that livestock production have on the environment. Dairy cows , for example, have been the topic of many research with the aim to reduce environmental pollution deriving from nitrogen in manure and the emission of methane, an important greenhouse gas.
In RuminOmics, researchers will make a ranking of the animals according to their emission of methane related to the efficiency of their milk yield. These data will be combined with the study of the rumen gastrointestinal microbial ecosystems to assess how these “ecosystems” can be controlled by the host animal and the possibility of a genetic disposition for the reduction of methane emissions. In this regard, Andrea is in favor of an intensively rearing system for dairy cows, and considers the Frisian cow as the most efficient and eco-friendly.
Read the full story from the top Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera.