Seaweed might be the answer to reducing the greenhouse gas contributions of cows. Researches discovered that feeding cows a small amount of asparagopsis taxiformis, a widely available seaweed that grows in oceans around the world, reduces the animal’s methane expulsion.
In multiple studies, cows were named major contributors to global warming and climate change totaling 14.5 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to microbes in their stomachs that causes cows to produce methane. But researchers discovered that seaweed counteracts some of this methane production.
“We now have sound evidence that seaweed in cattle diet is effective at reducing greenhouse gases and that the efficacy does not diminish over time,” Ermias Kebreab, study co-author and agricultural scientist, said.
The study’s findings were published in the journal Plos One, and concluded that adding a small amount of seaweed to cows’ diets over a five-month period reduced their methane expulsion—from burps to flatulence—by 82 percent.
“There is more work to be done, but we are very encouraged by these results,” 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.”