Researchers have discovered that methane emissions from cows can decline by whooping 82% if they are fed seaweed. When seaweed was included in cows’ diet, they realized it is an effective way of reducing the methane emission from their flatulence and burps. Methane is a planet-heating gas that is toxic to our environment.
The researchers who discovered this had included a small quantity of seaweed in the diet of cattle for five months. They realized that the seaweed made the cows release 82 percent less methane. This study builds on previous research that revealed that seaweed can help to reduce the methane emissions from cows over a shorter period.
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, director of the World Food Center
Ermias carried out the research with a PhD graduate student, Breanna Roque. Cows release methane through microbes in their stomachs. They release this anytime they digest fibrous food.
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Methane lives shorter than carbon in the atmosphere, however, it is more effective in trapping heat, which makes it one of the major greenhouse gases. The study revealed that Asparagopsis taxiformis, a type of seaweed can reduce methane emissions from cows.
Agriculture accounts for nearly 10% of emissions in the United States, of which a good portion of it comes from cows. This has made climate change advocates to urge people to consume less meat, however, researchers at UC Davis maintained that meat production could have less impact on the climate if seaweed can be included in cattle’s diets.
In a different research carried out by Emirias and Roque, it was discovered that seaweed supplements didn’t have a negative effect on milk output. The most recent research on beef cattle revealed that there is no difference in the taste of the beef from animals that consumed seaweed.