Red Seaweed Defeats Cows’ Methane-Filled Burps

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Red Seaweed Cons: Getting so tangled in my hair at the beach I’m washing it out in the shower for days.

Red Seaweed Pros: Possible solution to making cows and their gas less of a climate-change concern.

Cool story via Atlas Obscura.

By contrast, the evidence on a tropical red seaweed, Asparagopsis taxiformis, keeps getting stronger. Scientists began studying the effects of putting seaweed in cow feed in 2005, and as the experiments have moved out of the lab and into the barn, the promising results held up. The latest study, published in the journal PLoS One, shows that when 21 beef cattle ate a little bit of seaweed—less than a cup—mixed in with their feed each day, they burped out 82 percent less methane.

“This is much more than I expected, to be honest,” said Ermias Kebreab, an animal scientist who studies greenhouse gas emissions at the University of California, Davis. “I didn’t think we would get 80 percent reduction—that’s absolutely huge.”

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