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Division of Food Production and Society

Seaweeds and seaweed-ingredients to reduce enteric methane emissions from pasture-based sheep, cattle and dairy cows (SeaSolutions)

Photo: Ingrid Bay-Larsen
Finished Last updated: 03.02.2020
End: oct 2022
Start: nov 2019

Seasolutions will investigate the potential of seaweed to mitigate GHG emissions and gain a fundamental understanding of mechanism of action, effects of nutritional composition of meat and milk, whilst investigating economic viability

Start - end date 01.11.2019 - 31.10.2022
Project manager Maria Hayes, Teagasc
Project manager at Nibio Vibeke Lind
Division Division of Food Production and Society
Department Grassland and Livestock

Objectives of SEASOLUTIONS are:

 To develop novel, science-based, and implementable approaches to reduce methane emissions from sheep, beef cattle and dairy cows through seaweed additions to animal diets.

To explore more futuristic options (e.g.; development of seaweed feeds from seaweeds produced through aquaculture pond systems) based on emerging knowledge and technologies and by monitoring rumen pH and methane emissions using sensor technologies and capture of this data from animal trials using ICT technologies.

 To harvest and preserve native, sustainable seaweeds, in sufficient quantities (600 kg-1000 kg dry weight) for use as ingredients/raw material for animal feed development through implementation of drying, ensiling and novel technologies (High pressure processing, accelerated solvent extraction).

 To characterise and select native seaweeds for in vitro and animal trials based on their bioactive and safety profiles. The constituent composition of selected seaweeds will be quantified in terms of their peptide, phlorotannin, bacteriocin, bromoform, lipid and small molecule content using chromatography, mass spectrometry and 1H-NMR methods.

 To evaluate effects of seaweeds on total methane gas production using different in vitro rumen fluid models and animal trials. This has not been tested stringently in animal experiments with seaweeds other than Asparagopsis sp. which is not abundantly available (in sufficient quantities) in Europe. ICT technologies will be used in trials where sensors will be used to capture rumen pH, methane emissions and other data which will be captured and analysed using ICT methods.

 To examine the positive nutritional contributions of algae in the diets of sheep, cattle and dairy cows and the impact on milk and meat.

 To understand the mechanisms of action evoked by seaweed inclusion in the diets of sheep, beef cattle and cows in terms of the underlying role of the rumen microbiome. We will use rRNA taxonomy approaches to monitor bacterial and eukaryotic differences post feeding of seaweed i.e Who is possibly responsible? as well as monitoring functional differences using meatgaenomics and metatranscriptomics i.e Which genes are possibly involved

 To explore novel options for methane reduction and to develop feed ingredients (pellets, licks and flakes) for use by farmers to reduce emissions and improve animal health and nutritional efficiency.

 Political instruments: Our aim is to recommend adequate policy instruments (incentives or regulations) that can be used to secure implementation of the recommended animal diet management outcomes of SEASOLUTIONS, based on assessment of the meta-data collected from in vitro and animal trials and rumen microbiota characterisation experiments. SEASOLUTIONS will deliver socio-economic benchmark data for such policies.