A kick from cud

By Andy Coghlan WHEN cows chew the cud, they get unexpected help from the grass they’ve just eaten. It kickstarts the digestion—the plant equivalent of committing suicide. The finding may lead to ways of making cattle convert food more efficiently. Mike Theodorou and Alison Kingston-Smith of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, part of the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, have shown that within dying plant cells, powerful enzymes called proteases break down proteins in grass, liberating amino acids. The process occurs in the rumen,
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