Controlling Methane Emissions from Livestock

C&EN Oct 10 issue reports latest work.

3-Nitroxypropanol (the mono-nitrate ester of 1,3-propanediol) has been shown to reduce methane emissions when fed to livestock. It has been approved for use in EU, Chile, and Brazil.

California has approved the use of a feed additive from red seaweed.

Methane production in ruminants typically consumes 4-10% of the energy in the feed.

3-NOP was discovered by Royal DSM (the Dutch chemical giant) in a search for an inhibitor for a key enzyme in methane formation. In a feedlot trial they found a 26% reduction in methane production.

Bromoform is also effective but tox issues (possible carcinogen) work against its development.

Red seaweed is shown to reduce methane 67% in dairy cattle and 80% in beef cattle. Red seaweed also increased feed efficiency by 14%.

Research continues for a longer term treatment requiring less frequent treatment or treatment of herds in the field.

Livestock emissions are likely to increase 30% by 2050 as humans consume more meat.

Each cow produces 100 kg of methane per year or about 6% of global greenhouse gas production.

DSM is marketing 3-NOP as Bovaer®. Bovaer® is a feed additive that enables farmers to achieve a significant and immediate reduction of the environmental footprint of meat, milk, and dairy products. On average, it reduces enteric methane emissions by 30% from dairy cows and 45% from beef cattle.

In the US, Elanco is marketing the DSM product. Elanco was spun off from Eli Lilly in 2019.

The key market players analyzed in the global commercial seaweeds market report include Cargill Incorporated, CJ Cheiljedang Corporation, Corbion NV, Gimme Health Foods Inc., Irish Seaweeds, J.M. Huber Corporation, Mara Seaweed, Ocean Harvest Technology Limited, Qingdao Gather Great Ocean Algae Industry Group Co., Ltd (GGOG), Roland Foods, LLC, SeaSnax, Seasol, Seaweed & Co., Singha Corporation Co. Ltd., and Taokaenoi Food & Marketing PCL.

Of these Cargill and JM Huber (owner of Kelco) are best known, but so far no animal feed news reports.

Red seaweed grows in Australia. Products are beginning.

FutureFeed has issued licenses to three seaweed growers – CH4 Global, Sea Forest and SeaStock – to supply asparagopsis to the livestock market.

3-Nitroxypropanol is in the same family as nitroglycerin, the trinitrate of propanetriol. Glycerine is readily available as a by-product of biodiesel. You wonder if glycerine mononitrate might also be effective. 1,3-Propanediol is usually a petrochemical although Dupont has recently developed a fermentation process for it from corn.