WITH carbon neutral one of the hottest topics in beef at the moment, the science coming down the pipeline with potential to reduce methane emissions in cattle operations is something every man and his dog wants to know about.
Thus, the interest in the methane-busting seaweed Asparagopsis and its unique properties, which was put under the microscope at Beef 2021 when chief scientist for Australian innovation scale-up FutureFeed Dr Rob Kinley gave a presentation.
Dr Kinley told of how the particular genus of seaweed can drastically reduce methane emissions in his talk titled Feeding the World and Fighting Climate Change using Seaweed at the Ken Coombes Tech Yard.
FutureFeed exists to support the growing use of Asparagopsis as a natural ingredient for livestock to significantly reduce carbon emissions.
At inclusion rates of only 0.5 per cent dry matter, the methane reduction is over 80pc, Dr Kinley said.
The concept of a seaweed solution to address cattle methane was the result of more than 15 years of research, almost a decade of which has occurred in Australia.
"We are heavily embedded in the science behind the solution to emissions from the livestock sector and it is amazing to have been a part of this journey and watched it grow from an idea, to ground-breaking research, to something that is now becoming a commercial reality," Dr Kinley said.
"In general, seaweeds have a beneficial effect on methane production, with reductions of 10 to 20pc but Asparagospis is the star performer, and we are seeing a recurring trend of benefits to feed use efficiency.
"There are two species of interest: Asparagopsis taxiformis which is a tropical version and Asparagopsisarmata which is a sub-tropical to temperate version. Both species have similar bioactive chemistry but thrive in different conditions and both offer unprecedented mitigation induced by a natural product."
Established in August 2020, FutureFeed is the global IP holder for the technology developed by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or CSIRO, in collaboration with Meat & Livestock Australia and James Cook University.
FutureFeed is now in market phase, supporting the growth of the entire value chain including the emerging Asparagopsis aquaculture/seaweed industry, building on the existing science through continuing research and development and issuing licences to the growers of Asparagopsis for use in the value chain.
The company is also developing certification standards and a trademark that delivers the scientific credibility to the value chain and give consumers confidence that the products they're buying meet the quality and process standards that the research commands.