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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Seaweed and Seaweed Bioactives for Mitigation of Enteric Methane: Challenges and Opportunities

Abbott, D. Wade; Aasen, Inga Marie; Beauchemin, Karen A.; Grondahl, Fredrik; Gruninger, Robert; Hayes, Maria; Huws, Sharon; Kenny, David A.; Krizsan, Sophie J.; Kirwan, Stuart E.; Lind, Vibeke; Meyer, Ulrich; Ramin, Mohammad; Theodoridou, Katerina; von Soosten, Dirk; Walsh, Pamela J.; Waters, Sinead; Xing, Xiaohui


Simple SummaryThe need to become more efficient in agriculture and the food industry exists parallel to the challenge of climate change. Meat and dairy production is the target of much scrutiny due to methane (CH4) emissions and global warming. On the other hand, it should be noted that two-thirds of the world's agricultural land consists of pastures and permanent grasslands and is used for livestock grazing. This land is predominantly unsuitable for arable purposes but facilitates the production of high-quality human-edible protein in the form of ruminant animal-derived meat and milk. This makes a significant contribution to feeding the world's population. There is a need to reduce CH4 emissions, however, and several approaches are being researched currently. Seaweeds are diverse plants containing bioactives that differ from their terrestrial counterparts and they are increasingly under investigation as a feed supplement for the mitigation of enteric CH4. Seaweeds are rich in bioactives including proteins, carbohydrates and to a lesser extent lipids, saponins, alkaloids and peptides. These bioactives could also play a role as feed ingredients to reduce enteric CH4. This review collates information on seaweeds and seaweed bioactives and their potential to impact on enteric CH4 emissions.Seaweeds contain a myriad of nutrients and bioactives including proteins, carbohydrates and to a lesser extent lipids as well as small molecules including peptides, saponins, alkaloids and pigments. The bioactive bromoform found in the red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis has been identified as an agent that can reduce enteric CH4 production from livestock significantly. However, sustainable supply of this seaweed is a problem and there are some concerns over its sustainable production and potential negative environmental impacts on the ozone layer and the health impacts of bromoform. This review collates information on seaweeds and seaweed bioactives and the documented impact on CH4 emissions in vitro and in vivo as well as associated environmental, economic and health impacts.


methane emissions; rumen; ruminants; seaweeds; bioactive components; bromoform; bacteriocins; peptides; carbohydrates; lipids; saponins; phlorotannins; alkaloids; animal studies; RUSITEC

Published in

2020, volume: 10, number: 12, article number: 2432
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Abbott, D. Wade
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Aasen, Inga Marie
Beauchemin, Karen A.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Grondahl, Fredri
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
Gruninger, Robert
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Hayes, Maria
Huws, Sharon A.
Queen's University Belfast
Kenny, David A.
Kirwan, Stuart F.
Lind, Vibeke
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)
Meyer, Ulrich
Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden
Theodoridou, Katerina
Queens University Belfast
von Soosten, Dirk
Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Walsh , Pamela J.
Queens University Belfast
Waters, Sinéad
Xing, Xiaohui
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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