A dairy cow chews a mouthful of cattle feed with seaweed at the UC Davis Dairy Teaching and Research Facility in Davis on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Photo Credit: Sacramento Bee via Getty Images

Environment USA30. March 2021

By Chewing on Seaweed, Cows Become Greener

A team of researchers based in California, United States, came to the conclusion that by adding seaweed to cows’ diet, it is possible to reduce their methane emissions by up to 82%.

“We now have sound evidence that seaweed in cattle diet is effective at reducing greenhouse gases and that the efficacy does not diminish over time,” says Ermias Kebreab, an agricultural scientist at the University of California, and senior author of the paper.

Livestock accounts for some 14.5% of the annual overall greenhouse gas emitted by humanity, and cows are responsible for the majority of those emissions. The addition of diverse types of seaweed didn’t impair the cow’s capacity to put on weight. In fact, they were able to convert their food consumption into bodyweight 20% more efficiently with a seaweed-added diet. As for dairy cows, they emitted 50% fewer methane gases when they chewed on red-colored seaweed.

Smithsonian Magazine
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