Symbrosia to Grow Seaweed Strain at Cyanotech Facilities
Symbrosia SeaGraze

Symbrosia’s SeaGraze™ Asparagopsis taxiformis red seaweed could be the key to large-scale, methane-neutral livestock farming. Photo: Symbrosia

Cyanotech Corporation (NASDAQ: CYAN), a leading producer of high-value natural products derived from microalgae, and Symbrosia, a recipient of the Blue Climate Initiative’s 2022 Ocean Innovation Prize, have announced they are partnering to grow Symbrosia’s strain of seaweed for their SeaGraze™ animal feed product at Cyanotech’s facilities in Hawai`i.

Made from Asparagopsis taxiformis and rich in bioactive compounds, SeaGraze has demonstrated commercial benefits for livestock producers looking to reduce the methane production of their herds, with recent results showing reductions of over 80%.

Cyanotech, which operates a 96-acre state-of-the-art microalgae production facility on the Kona coast of Hawai’i, according to Symbrosia executives, “…will provide the best conditions for Symbrosia’s seaweed to thrive and produce the highest quality product possible.”

After running a successful proof of concept, the two companies based at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai’i Authority (NELHA) plan to work together over the coming months to refine cultivation at Cyanotech facilities.

Feeding seaweed to cattle for methane reduction goes back to 2014, when Dr. Kinley at James Cook University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) profiled several native Australian seaweeds for their potential to reduce methane emissions when utilized as a feed additive for livestock. Asparagopsis taxiformis outperformed all others with 1-2% feed inclusion resulting in 99% reduction of methane in an in vitro model.

Symbrosia conducted the world’s first commercial Asparagopsis trial in 2020 and measured results of over 75% reduction in enteric methane.

How the Symbrosia feed works is that during the enteric fermentation part of the ruminant’s digestive process, SeaGraze intercepts the formation of occurring methane without impacting the fatty acids that help the animal make products like milk, wool, and meat.

In a typical fermentation process, the H₂ and CO₂ combine within the stomach to create an output of CH4 (methane) that is released whenever the animal burps. However, with SeaGraze, the H2 is blocked from the C, reducing methanogens naturally through digestion.

“We are excited about working with Symbrosia and supporting the growth of this new product,” said Matthew Custer, CEO of Cyanotech. “Our expertise in cultivating high-quality microalgae, combined with Symbrosia’s innovative approach to seaweed cultivation, creates a synergistic relationship that will benefit both companies and consumers who rely on Symbrosia’s products.”

“Working with Cyanotech will allow us to scale up our production and accelerate commercialization,” said Symbrosia’s CEO, Alexia Akbay. “We believe that Cyanotech’s expertise in cultivation make them an ideal partner for Symbrosia as we work to bring SeaGraze to the global marketplace.”

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