Berlin: Flatulence from 90 cows in a German barn sparked a methane gas explosion that damaged the building and left one cow slightly injured with burns, police said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the force said high levels of the methane gas had built up within the structure in the central German town of Rasdorf on Monday thanks to animal belches and flatulence, before “a static electric charge caused the gas to explode with flashes of flames”.

“In the barn for 90 dairy cows, methane built up for unknown reasons ... exploding in a darting flame,” said local police in the central town of Rasdorf in Hesse state.

The subsequent blast damaged the roof of the cow shed. Emergency services who attended the scene took gas readings to check for any potential further blasts.

“Parts of the roof cover were slightly damaged and a cow suffered minor burns,” said police, adding that a fire crew rushed to the scene of Monday’s accident and a gasfield crew later measured methane levels.

The animals can emit up to 500 litres of the greenhouse gas methane each every day through belching and flatulence. Cows also release large amounts of ammonia.

Cattle ranching is a polluting business — methane is a potent greenhouse gas and cows also release large amounts of ammonia, which can lead to toxic acidification of soil and water bodies.