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Anti-methane Feed for Cattle: Marine Algae

September 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Biodiesel, Algae-Cultivation-Marine, Algae-Methane

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That started JCU nutritionist Dr Tony Parker and marine scientist Professor Rocky de Nys thinking about the potential of seaweed as a low-methane fodder source—in particular the fast-growing “green tide” of algae that can be used to soak up excess nutrient in treatment of water used by aquaculture.

Some of these algae can grow at four times the rate of sugar cane on a dry matter basis.

Many aquaculture farms use seaweeds and algae to clean their ponds of the waste from fish and crustaceans. Effluent water contains nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which in excess are partly responsible for the breakdown of aquatic ecosystems in the Inner Great Barrier Reef.

These are also the nutrients that the “green tide” of algae thrive on, Professor de Nys said. “At present, however, there is little incentive provided to farmers to use this bioremediation method as it means they will often be left with a huge algal biomass that they don’t know what to do with and which has little to no financial value.”

But Dr Parker believes that marine algae may offer another protein source for cattle, especially in winter when feed is scarce.

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