Scientists at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University say they have discovered that the chemicals that give cut grass its distinctive ‘green odour’ kill off bacteria that convert healthy omega-3 fats into saturated fats in a cow’s gut.
The discovery has been reported in the Society for Applied Microbiology’s Journal of Applied Microbiology.
Dr Sharon Huws, Coleg Cymraeg lecturer in Animal Science at IBERS led the research:
“We’ve known for a while that milk contains a greater proportion of the healthy omega-3 fats in the summer, than in the winter, and now we know it’s probably down to the antimicrobial effects of the green odour products from grass."
They say the Carneddau ponies need to be conserved to protect their existence - especially as many died in the recent snow, "dramatically reducing their numbers."
Clare Winton, a Ph.D student who did the study, said: “Although the Carneddau ponies have shared ancestry with the Welsh Section A pony, they exhibit unique mutations while maintaining high genetic diversity, demonstrating that the population has been isolated for at least several hundred years."
Dr Nash, from the university, said: “The existence of the Carneddau ponies is threatened by financial pressure such as costs associated with the legal requirement to passport and microchip every horse in the UK."
The Carneddau ponies play a vital role within the mountain ecology of the Snowdonia National Park, as they are involved in a grazing scheme maintaining the preferred habitat for the endangered bird, the red-billed chough.
Roger Roberts has become the oldest person to graduate from Aberystwyth University this year, at the age of 82. Roger was today awarded a Bachelor of Economic and Social Studies in International Politics.
He lives in Aberystwyth and studied for his degree over four years. It took him longer than usual to complete his degree because he suffered from ill-health over the last two years of study.