Happy Earth Day! Scientists Working to Reduce Methane Emissions

Posted by Scott Elliott, Public Affairs Specialist, Agricultural Research Service in

Research and Science

Apr 22, 2022

Dairy cows feeding

As we have fun our planet this Earth Day, we spotlight ongoing analysis being carried out at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) exploring how a seaweed species may probably scale back methane emissions in livestock manufacturing.

According to NASA, it’s a misconception farm flatulence leads to extra atmospheric methane. In truth, the pure, digestive regurgitation and belches from livestock ruminants contribute most to environmental methane emissions. Ruminants are grazing animals with digestive techniques that ferment the cellulose in grasses and different vegetation they eat. Methane fuel is launched as a fermentation byproduct.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says methane accounts for about 10% of U.S. greenhouse fuel emissions — and enteric (intestinal) fermentation accounts for roughly 2.7% of that. To assist this challenge, scientists are turning to a seaweed compound referred to as bromoform, which may scale back enteric methane emissions by as a lot as 82% when fed to ruminants as a small portion of their weight loss plan.

Studies are underway to decide the seaweed species with the best potential to scale back methane. Researchers on the USDA-ARS U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center plan to embrace seaweed as a part of dairy cattle’s weight loss plan to consider each lactation efficiency and enteric methane emissions. Expanding this dietary complement nationwide, and maybe globally, may markedly scale back methane emissions, and that’s one thing value boasting—not belching—about this Earth Day.

Research and Science

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