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Algae to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in dairy cows

Could adding algae to the diet of dairy cows be one way of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs)? The Alma-based Agrinova center is currently conducting research in this area. 


An American study in the Journal of Cleaner Production showed that including Asparagpsis algae in 0.5% to 1% of the diet of dairy cows reduced their methane emissions by 50%. 


However, this algae is only found in Oceania, particularly on the coast of Australia. Importing it to Quebec and America would therefore be extremely costly.


In collaboration with Rimouski's Marine Biotechnology Research Centre, Agrinova is therefore seeking to determine whether the St. Lawrence River, which abounds in algae, contains a seaweed with properties similar to Asparagpsis.


Alimentation des vaches laitières: des algues pour lutter contre les GES? | LesAffaires.com




"The element in Asparagpsis that enables it to capture GHGs from cows is bromoform. We wanted to check whether algae from the St. Lawrence might contain it," explains Cristiano Côrtes, a researcher in animal production. If St. Lawrence algae do contain it, laboratory tests, known as in vitro tests, will be carried out. 

"We'll simulate what happens in a cow's stomach, with liquids that simulate saliva and rumination. If this is conclusive, we will then carry out the animal phase, i.e. trials on real cows on farms in the region."