Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about Liqofluxphenometrics515R1
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

How eating seaweed can lower cow methane

July 4, 2018
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Scientist Ermias Kebreab has studied how to reduce cow methane emissions for more than a decade.
Photo: Gregory Urquiaga/ UC Davis

J dropcapudith Lewis Mernit writes in e360.yale.edu that an experiment being conducted by animal science professor Ermias Kebreab at the University of California, Davis, is testing 12 Holstein cows in an experiment to reduce methane emissions from livestock by supplementing their diets with a specific type of seaweed.

In California alone, 1.8 million dairy cows, together with a smaller number of beef cattle, emit 11.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent every year — as much as 2.5 million cars. The enormity of those numbers, in part, motivated California lawmakers to pass a law to reduce methane emissions and other short-lived “climate pollutants” by 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030. The California Air Resources Board subsequently ordered a majority of the reductions in the new law to come from the dairy industry.

The UC Davis study will contribute to a global store of knowledge on how to limit the methane produced by “enteric fermentation” — the digestive process in a ruminant’s upper stomach chamber, or rumen, where microbes predigest fiber and starch, releasing gases when they belch and exhale. It’s “one of a handful of options in various stages of development that seem to have the potential to reduce (enteric) methane by 30 percent or more,” says Ryan McCarthy, science advisor to the Air Resources Board.

Dr. Kebreab’s experiments with seaweed additives to cattle feed have now surpassed that 30-percent figure, with one type of seaweed slashing enteric methane by more than 50 percent: Asparagopsis taxiformis.

Ground-up Asparagopsis taxiformis, a type of seaweed, can reduce cow methane
emissions up to 50 percent when added to feed.
Photo: Gregory Urquiaga/ UC Davis

The dried Asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed are blended with molasses to produce a shiny, viscous slop that the cows evidently find delicious. Four of the cows eat a mixture of alfalfa and hay, heavily spiked with the seaweed-molasses mixture. Four more eat the same feed, with less seaweed added in. The rest are the control group — they’ll eat plain feed, without any additives at all.

When they finish eating, they’re enticed by the drop of a “cow cookie” to visit a compartment where an instrument, much like a breathalyzer, analyzes their emissions. Each cow wears a ring on its ear that transmits an identification code along with its breath analysis to a database.

The results have exceeded everyone’s expectations. The three-month study found that spiking cows’ ordinary rations with this specific marine macroalgae reduces enteric methane by 58 percent. More than other seaweeds, Asparagopsis contains compounds that inhibit the production of methane, or CH4, and interrupt the process by which carbon and hydrogen bind together.

Even though the California dairy industry at large fought hard against what farmers initially considered onerous regulation, at least some dairy farmers are tentatively enthusiastic about seaweed additives. “Methane is an indication of an inefficiency in the animal’s digestion,” says Jonathan Reinbold, sustainability program manager for Organic Valley, a cooperative of more than 1,800 dairy farmers, including 35 in California. “If you can increase the digestion efficiency of a cow by 5 percent you could remove 5 percent of the land you use for production for cows. It can go back to fallow or be used to grow other kinds of food.”

Read More

More Like This…

Copyright ©2010-2018 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

twittertopbarlinks_eventstopbarlinks_requesttopbarlinks_archives

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Monica Jain of Fish 2.0 writes in National Geographic about how the algae brand is about to undergo an image makeover, and may soon seem flat-out glamorous — once again. ...
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of three projects to receive up to $8 million, aimed at reducing the costs of producing algal biofuels and...
Adoption of advanced technologies in various stages of natural astaxanthin production, such as microalgae harvesting, cultivation, extraction, and drying, have been major...
The Department of Energy has just announced $22 million in funding through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for 18 innovative projects as part of the...
Portuguese microalgae producer, Allmicroalgae Natural Products S.A., has recently begun production of Chlorella vulgaris and other microalgae species via fermentation, wh...
Ali Morris writes in dezeen.com that Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros have developed a bioplastic made from algae, which they believe could completely rep...
Cyanotech Corporation a leader in microalgae-based, high-value nutrition and health products, announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of f...
The Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association (NAXA), headquartered in Spring, Texas, has announced that Chile-based Atacama Bio is its newest executive member. Atacama Bio h...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech) has become the major shareholder in Supreme Health New Zealand, Ltd. (Supreme) to supply the rapidly growing markets in Ch...
JapanNews.com reports that Euglena Co., a Tokyo-based maker of nutritional supplements, is spending ¥5.8 billion ($5.3 million USD) on building a test refinery that conve...
Israeli-based Algatechnologies, Ltd. (Algatech), is teaming up with the Italian R&D company, Sphera Encapsulation S.r.l (Sphera), to develop innovative functional ingredi...
Have some of the final engineering limitations of microalgae been overcome? Can microalgae be hosts for genetic engineering as powerful as bacteria and yeast? A promising...