Suppression of enteric methane emissions (burps) from livestock has the potential to drastically reduce the global production of this greenhouse gas, which is about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This project aims to develop a well-balanced seaweed additive for cattle feed that helps address this issue and offers major benefits to the environment, dairy and beef production, and the working waterfront.
Research has shown that certain tropical red seaweeds contain compounds that can influence digestion of macronutrients in livestock rumen and reduce methane production. However, there are major limitations to working with these particular seaweed species, such as costs to produce them and limited production capacity. At the request of algae and dairy producers in the region, we are screening Gulf of Maine seaweeds and microscopic algae with demonstrated, scalable aquaculture potential for their nutritional effect of influencing rumen fermentation in livestock. Our team of scientists is a unique, exciting mix of experts in algal physiology, microbiology, animal health, soil science, sociology, and economics. With support from the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund and USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, we are tackling a problem of regional importance that can have impact on the global release of a major greenhouse gas.