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22 Aug, 2019 12:20

Not just hot air: Pink seaweed hailed as solution to ozone-destroying cow farts

Not just hot air: Pink seaweed hailed as solution to ozone-destroying cow farts

It’s not the most glamorous side of the climate change battle, but scientists may have finally found a way to save the planet from one of its most harmful byproducts, the methane-releasing burps and farts of gassy cows.

Livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with cattle accounting for about 65 percent of that output. 

Now, researchers in Australia say they’ve discovered that a tropical pink algae, called Asparagopsis, can almost completely neutralize the stomach acid that causes cows to burp.

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When added to cow feed at less than two percent of the dry matter, this particular seaweed completely knocks out methane production,” said aquaculture biologist Nick Paul from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.

It contains chemicals that reduce the microbes in the cows’ stomachs that cause them to burp when they eat grass.”

The team are now working to find ways to sustainably mass-produce the seaweed, with the goal of creating a cow feed on a national and global scale; they say the biggest challenge is finding the ideal growing conditions to move the crops from the lab to large outdoor tanks. 

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