Over the past few months, graduate students and researchers at California’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories have scoured coastal waters, collecting seaweed in the hopes of finding a native species that could help gassy cows.
Cows belch—a lot. And their burps (as well as those of other ruminants) make them the top polluters of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. A researcher in Australia published a study showing near-complete reductions of methane in the burps of cows that were fed minute amounts of seaweed—specifically, asparagopsis taxiformis at 2 or more percent of the total feed.
Dr. Luke Gardner, a California Sea Grant Extension Specialist based at the Moss Landing laboratories, is hoping to find a native California seaweed with properties similar to asparagopsis.