An Update on Cows, Red Seaweed and Methane Emissions

 Seagriculture EU 2024
Methane Emissions

Beef cattle fed red algae showed reductions in methane emissions of over 50 percent.

Supplementing the diet of beef cattle with red seaweed can more than halve methane emissions without compromising meat quality, according to a study, published March 17, 2021 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, by Breanna Roque from the University of California and colleagues.

The researchers fed twenty-one Angus-Hereford beef bullocks their usual diet of hay, grains, and corn, supplemented with either zero, low, or high concentrations of red seaweed (Asparagopsis taxiformis). They measured the quantity of methane, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide released by individual bullocks periodically for 21 weeks and found that seaweed supplements reduced methane emissions by between 45 percent and 68 percent.

The proportion of forage in the base diet also influenced emissions; the greatest reductions were found with a high seaweed-supplemented, low-forage diet, which reduced methane production by as much as 80%. Professional grading and consumer testing revealed no effect on the quality or flavor of the meat.

The study is the first to show a sustained reduction in cattle greenhouse gas emissions as a result of feed supplementation. Bullocks also sustained normal growth rates while consuming less food, suggesting that red seaweed supplemented diets could help farmers improve efficiency, reduce costs, and reduce methane emissions simultaneously, the authors say.

“There is more work to be done, but we are very encouraged by these results,” Dr. Roque said. “We now have a clear answer to the question of whether seaweed supplements can sustainably reduce livestock methane emissions and its long-term effectiveness.”

All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint articles in their entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeplanet.com. Algae Planet accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

Seagriculture USA 2024
AlgaeMetrics

Subscribe

Breaking-News

  • April 15, 2024: Somater, a French manufacturer of plastic and polymer primary packaging for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food, and industry, has partnered with French start-up Eranova to create a 100% bio-based line of packaging from green algae collected on the banks of a brackish water lagoon near Marseille, in the south of France. READ MORE...
  • April 12, 2024: Global warming is triggering significant shifts in temperate macroalgal communities worldwide, favoring small, warm-affinity species over large canopy-forming, cold-affinity species. A new study delves into the impacts of increasing sea surface temperature on the subtidal macroalgal communities in the southeastern Bay of Biscay over the last four decades. READ MORE...
  • April 10, 2024: A research team at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, has found a bacterium that can form a team with a green alga. Both microorganisms support each other in their growth. The bacterium helps the microalga to neutralize the toxin of another, harmful bacterium. READ MORE...
  • April 8, 2024: An anthropology professor at the University of South Florida recently published a paper on the impact of algae blooms and depletion of coral reefs on the region’s tourism industry. She knew barely anyone outside her field would read it, so…she had the data put to music. READ MORE...

Algae Europe 2024

A Beginner’s Guide