Mitigating Livestock Methane Emissions with Marine Algae

Full Title: Exploring The Potential of Marine Algae in Mitigating Enteric Methane Emissions from Florida Livestock Systems
This study explores the potential of marine algae as a sustainable protein source for livestock, aiming to reduce enteric methane emissions and address challenges in food production. Collaborating with industry partners, the research will assess algae’s viability through in vitro and livestock trials, with the goal of offering farmers an opportunity to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining livestock productivity, ultimately advancing sustainable agriculture and empowering coastal communities.
Lead Investigator: Dr. Nicolas DiLorenzo, University of Florida
Project Team: Dr. Jose Dubeux, University of Florida; Dr. Angela Collins, Florida Sea Grant; Dr. Liza Garcia, University of Florida; Andre Brugger, Netuno USA Inc; Dr. Aaron Welch III, Two Docks Shellfish, LLC
Collaborator: Netuno USA Inc, LLC, The Florida Cattlemen Association
Award Amount: $199,493
Year Funded: 2024
Award Period: 2024-2026
Project Abstract:

The state of Florida, known for its extensive coastline and abundant marine resources, presents a unique opportunity to explore the potential of marine algae as a protein source for livestock while mitigating enteric methane emissions. With tourism and agriculture being the primary economic drivers in Florida, finding sustainable and affordable solutions for food production poses significant challenges, as well as opportunities. This study aims to investigate the viability of marine algae as a sustainable solution to address these challenges by providing high-quality protein and reducing enteric methane emissions in livestock systems within the state.

To achieve this, a collaborative partnership has been established with Netuno, USA Inc. and Two Docks Shellfish, LLC, focusing on cultivating and harvesting algae in the Tampa Bay area. The harvested macro algae will be subjected to in vitro incubations at varying inclusion rates to simulate different dietary effects. Algae showing promising results will be selected for further growth in tanks under controlled conditions. Subsequently, the selected algae will be tested on Angus crossbred heifers at NFREC, where both their performance and enteric methane emissions will be evaluated.

Implementing algae-based feed additives provides an opportunity for farmers to contribute to greenhouse gas reduction efforts while maintaining livestock productivity. However, additional research is required to optimize algae-based formulations, assess long-term effects, and address scalability and cost-effectiveness challenges. Successful integration of marine algae into livestock systems can pave the way for more sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture and aquaculture enterprises, thus contributing to the empowering of coastal communities.

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