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Passing Gas: Seaweed Lowers Cows’ Methane Emissions

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If Australia can grow enough of the puffy, pink Asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed for every cow in Australia, the country could cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent. That’s the conclusion the University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia) seaweed research group leader Associate Professor Nick Paul. The cows burp out methane, but, “When added to cow feed at less than two percent of the dry matter, this particular seaweed completely knocks out methane production. It contains chemicals that reduce the microbes in the cows’ stomachs that cause them to burp when they eat grass,” he says. Cows are known to eat seaweed. “This seaweed has caused a lot of global interest, and people around the world are working to make sure the cows are healthy, the beef and the milk are good quality,” Paul notes. “But the one missing step, the big thing that is going to make sure this works at a global scale, is to make sure we can produce the seaweed sustainably.”
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