Skip to main content

Could seaweed be the answer to cows’ methane burps?

by Mareyah Bhatti, Jul 21
1 minute read

Animal scientist Ermias Kebreab, director of the World Food Center at the University of California, noticed that changing cows’ diets can have a positive impact on the amount of methane they produce – especially when they burp…

green grass on brown soil during daytime

Kebreab identified seaweed – which is frozen, powdered and added to food troughs – can “reduce methane production by as much as 90%”.

So what?

Whilst there are still issues with how methane production from cows’ belches are measured – it is undoubted that cattle are responsible for a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Altering the diet of cattle to include seaweed appears like a non-invasive and relatively low cost solution for tackling methane production in farming. Could we soon see this adopted in mainstream farming?  If this practice was adopted at scale, could it produce unintended consequences like different or more potent bovine excrement and/or effluent, or perhaps poor health or increased susceptibility to disease?  Would global seaweed supply be able to keep up with demand without converting undue amounts biodiversity-rich, shallow, sun-rich waters to seaweed production?



by Mareyah Bhatti Spotted 56 signals

Focus areas: Food & nutrition, Climate change, Health

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Join discussion

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.