Hugo M. Oliveira1, Marcela A. Segundo2, António J. M. Fonseca1, Ana R. J. Cabrita1
Organization(s): 1: REQUIMTE, LAQV, ICBAS, Universidade do Porto, Rua Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.; 2: REQUIMTE, UCIBIO, Lab. Química Aplicada, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Rua Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, 228, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal.

Methane is a greenhouse gas implicated in climate change. Among the different anthropogenic sources, ruminants have been identified as one of the major contributors for the global emission budget of methane. Hence, the accurate measurement of enteric methane emissions is an essential aspect for the development of reliable predictive models, as well for the monitoring of new mitigation strategies.

The separation of ruminant’s enteric methane from the surrounding atmosphere is difficult, making the assessment of methane a complex and time–consuming task. This lead to a quest for alternative methods based on the activity of the microorganisms responsible for the methanogenesis: Archaea. For example, qPCR targeting specific methanogenic genes encoding the 16S rRNA (rrs) and the methyl-coenzyme M reductase (mcrA), or the measurement of archaeol (a unique lipid structure present in Archaea) have been exploited to correlate the abundance of methanogens and methane generated by individual animals.

Based on this background, this communication intends to critically overview the state of the art of the Archaea-based methods for estimating methane emissions from ruminants. Additionally, this communication also aims to introduce the use of the co-enzymes of methanogenesis as potential biomarkers for estimating methane emissions from these animals. A special focus will be placed on co-enzyme M (CoM). The most relevant methodological aspects such as the extraction and purification anion exchange solid-phase extraction of CoM from rumen fluid samples, and the chemical derivatization for its fast and sensitive measurement will be discussed.

Acknowledgements: Hugo M. Oliveira thanks FCT for the post-doctoral grant SFRH/BPD/75065/2010. This work received financial support from the European Union (FEDER funds) and National Funds (FCT/MEC, Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia and Ministério da Educação e Ciência) under the Partnership Agreements UID/QUI/50006/2013 - POCI/01/0145/FEDER/007265 and PT2020 UID/MULTI/04378/2013 - POCI/01/0145/FEDER/007728.

Hugo M. Oliveira

Hugo M. Oliveira graduated in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Porto in 2003. He completed his MSc in Environmental Analytical Chemistry in 2005, in a joint program between University of Porto and University of Aberdeen (UK). In 2010, Hugo received his European PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry by the University of Porto, which consisted on the development of automatic sample preparation methodologies for liquid chromatography, applied to food and environmental fields.

Since 2011, he is a post-doctoral fellow at REQUIMTE, and his research interests comprise the development of analytical methodologies for environmental and feedstuff monitoring, with a particular emphasis in innovative sample preparation protocols, and also on the study of (bio)chemical markers of the enteric methane emission of ruminants.

Hugo is a co-author of 15 papers in international peer-reviewed journals in two book chapters in the areas of analytical and applied chemistry.