Seaweed Additives for Methane Reduction in Cows


Cattle make a major contribution to the methane production on earth and UC Davis Animal Science researcher Ermias Kebreab has been studying for more than a decade on how to reduce those emissions. The article by Judith Lewis Mernit at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies discusses the findings of Kebreab and how he reduced methane production in a cow by 58% using seaweed. See "How Eating Seaweed Can Help Cows to Belch Less Methane" for more.

The results have exceeded everyone’s expectations, including Kebreab’s. His three-month study of Ginger and her cohort found that spiking cows’ ordinary rations with one kind of marine macroalgae in particular, Asparagopsis taxiformis, 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.

“We did not expect these numbers in the doses we used,” Kebreab says. Milk production held steady or increased. A panel of tasters detected no differences among the different cows’ milk.