March 18, 2021


Research finds Australian seaweed fed to cattle dramatically cuts their methane emissions


A study published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of California has found that feeding cattle an Australian seaweed can dramatically cut their methane emissions, Xinhua News Agency reported.


Researchers said supplementing the cattle's feed with 0.25% of Asparagopsis taxiformis, a red seaweed that naturally grows off Australia's coast, was found to reduce the animal's methane production by more than 50% over a 147-day period.


Boosting the supplement to 0.5% of the cattle's daily feed showed a 74% reduction in methane emissions. The seaweed supplement does not affect the taste or quality of meat from the cattle.


Rob Kinley, the chief scientist of Future Feed, which is a joint venture between CSIRO, Meat and Livestock Australia, and James Cook University, said there are no compounds of any type be it another kind of seaweed or synthetic chemical, that is able to reduce methane emissions by that much without hurting the cattle.


He said methane is a by-product of the cattle's evolution and is not necessary for the animal.


The Asparagopsis taxiformis contains large amounts of bromoform. Bromoform inhibits methane from being produced.


The Future Feed organization said if 10% of livestock producers add 1% of Asparagopsis taxiformis into ruminant livestock's daily feed intake, it would be similar to taking away 100 million cars off the road.


- Xinhua News Agency