Asparagopsis taxiformis –  popular Pacific “red seaweed” can help save the world from greenhouse gases

 

More studies prove that seaweed can help save the planet from greenhouse gases.

Fish Radio has followed studies in Australia and Canada that showed small amounts of red seaweed added to livestock feed greatly reduces methane from the gas they pass in burps and farts. Cow burps alone  account for 26 percent of the nation’s total methane emissions according to the EPA, and the U.S. is only the world’s fourth-largest producer of cattle, behind China, Brazil, and India.

Now, researchers at UC Davis in California have proved that seaweed puts the brakes on burps and adding it to cattle diets does not hurt their growth or change the taste of beef.

Cattle that ate just three ounces of seaweed daily over five months gained as much weight as their herd mates while burping out 82% less methane into the atmosphere.

UC Davis followed earlier studies on dairy cows where methane emissions dropped by 50%. Their daily seaweed dosage was used from the time the cows were small until they were full grown. Researchers found that the longer term use did not change the taste of the milk.

One problem:  all researchers used a red seaweed found in warmer waters throughout the Pacific called Asparagopsis toxiformis. It’s one of the most popular seaweed ingredients in Hawaiian cuisine and used traditionally in poke.

But the supply from wild harvests is not enough to go around and startups are already underway to produce it.

SeafoodSource reports that Sweden’s  KTH Royal Institute of Technology is partnering with Yale University to cultivate the red seaweed in land-based tanks with intentions of providing it to livestock farmers around the world.

An Australian project called Greener Grazing is the first to develop methods to produce and seed asparagosis spores for ocean cultivation.

And last year a dried product  called FutureFeed created at James Cook University in partnership with Meat and Livestock Australia won a Food Planet Prize of $1 million. Doses of just one to two percent of the dried seaweed reduced methane emissions in cud-chewing livestock by 99 percent.

The makers claim that if just 10% of global livestock producers added 1% of Asparagopsis seaweed meal to the daily feeds of livestock, it would be similar to taking 100 million cars off the road.

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