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R&D: Algae holds potential as stockfeed source, methane-reducing agent

Researchers working on the potential production and use of algae as both a feed source and a means of reducing livestock methane emissions have filed a patent on a species of algae found to have powerful methane-reducing properties.

The patent for the use of a species of red macro algae to reduce methane emissions in ruminants was filed with IP Australia in January.

The application is the result of promising results coming from collaborative work involving CSIRO and James Cook University examining the use of algae supplements, as part of the National Livestock Methane Program (NLMP).

Project leader Nigel Tomkins said macro algae were rich in minerals, vitamins, proteins, and polysaccharides and had excellent potential to be used as a supplement for livestock.

“In addition, we’ve found that certain algae are particularly good at increasing feed conversion and reducing methane output in cattle. So good in fact, it was decided to apply to patent one species of red algae,” Dr Tomkins said.

Patent applicants are Meat & Livestock Australia, CSIRO and James Cook University. A decision on the application is expected later this year.

The National Livestock Methane Program is a national collaborative program focused on providing cattle and sheep producers with options to increase their productivity while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases from their livestock.

Its objectives include:

  • Developing practical on-farm options to achieve a significant reduction in methane emissions from stock
  • Quantifying the level of abatement achievable while at the same time increasing productivity
  • Providing the science to underpin methodologies developed under the Carbon Farming Initiative – an Australian Government program to support livestock producers reducing emissions.

Source: http://www.beefcentral.com/production/article/4524

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