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Effect of the volume of methane released into respiration chambers on full system methane recovery

Arceo-Castillo, Jeyder I., Montoya-Flores, Maria D., Molina-Botero, Isabel C., Piñeiro-Vázquez, Angel T., Aguilar-Pérez, Carlos F., Ayala-Burgos, Armin J., Solorio-Sánchez, Francisco J., Castelán-Ortega, Octavio A., Quintana-Owen, Patricia, Ku-Vera, Juan C.
Animal feed science and technology 2019
air, cattle, methane, methane production, mixing
The respiration chamber method is considered to be the most precise approach for measuring enteric methane emissions in cattle. A set of experimental runs was carried out in which increasing volumes of pure methane (168.5, 194.9, 234.9, 264.9, 301.0, 339.8, and 375.7 L per run) were gravimetrically released into open-circuit respiration chambers to simulate the volumes of methane eructated by cattle of different weights. The aim was to assess the effect of the volume of methane released into the chambers on percentage of methane recovered at the exit by the infrared methane analyzer. It was found that as the volume of methane released into the respiration chambers was decreased, methane recovery percentages were concomitantly reduced. The recovery percentages ranged from 103.7% down to 18.3% and from 102.7% down to 31.6% for chambers one and two, respectively. It can be concluded that the slow stabilization of methane inside the large volume chamber, when injected at low rates from the cylinder, led to low recoveries of the gas at an air extraction rate of 300 L/min. As a result, the recovery of methane was constrained, leading to underestimation of the actual volumes released from the pure methane cylinders. Poor mixing of air inside the chambers did also constrain the recovery of methane with the experimental approach employed. The possible implications for methane measurements in respiration chambers under in vivo conditions with cattle are discussed.