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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

A meta-analysis of methane-mitigation potential of feed additives evaluated in vitro

Martins, L. F.; Cueva, S.F.; Lage, C.F.A.; Ramin, Mohammad; Silvestre, T.; Tricarico, J.; Hristov, A.N.


A systematic literature review of in vitro studies was performed to identify methane (CH4) mitigation interventions with a potential to reduce CH4 emission in vivo. Data from 277 peer-reviewed studies published between 1979 and 2018 were reviewed. Individual CH4 mitigation interventions were classified into 14 categories of feed additives based on their type, chemical composition, and mode of action. Response variables evaluated were absolute CH4 emission (number of treatment means comparisons = 1,325); total volatile fatty acids (n = 1,007), acetate (n = 783), propionate (n = 792), and butyrate (n = 776) concentrations; acetate to propionate ratio (n = 675); digestibility of dry matter (n = 489), organic matter (n = 277), and neutral detergent fiber (n = 177). Total gas production was used as an explanatory variable in the model for CH4 production. Relative mean difference between treatment and control means reported in the studies was calculated and used for statistical analysis. The robust variance estimation method was used to analyze the effects of CH4 mitigation interventions. In vitro CH4 production was decreased by antibodies (-38.9%), chemical inhibitors (-29.2%), electron sinks (-18.9%), essential oils (-18.2%), plant extracts (-14.5%), plant inclusion (-11.7%), saponins (-14.8%), and tannins (-14.5%). Overall effects of direct-fed microbials, enzymes, macroalgae, and organic acids supplementation did not affect CH4 production in the current meta -analysis. When considering the effects of individual mitigation interventions containing a minimum number of 4 degrees of freedom within feed additives categories, Enterococcus spp. (i.e., direct-fed microbial), nitrophenol (i.e., electron sink), and Leucaena spp. (i.e., tannins) decreased CH4 production by 20.3%, 27.1%, and 23.5%, respectively, without extensively, or only slightly, affecting ruminal fermentation and digestibility of nutrients. It should be noted, however, that although the total number of publications (n = 277) and treatment means comparisons (n = 1,325 for CH4 production) in the current analysis were high, data for most mitigation interventions were obtained from less than 5 observations (e.g., maximum number of observations was 4, 7, and 22 for nitrophenol, Enterococcus spp., and Leucaena spp., respectively), because of limited data available in the literature. These should be further evaluated in vitro and in vivo to determine their true potential to decrease enteric CH4 production, yield, and intensity. Some mitigation interventions (e.g., magnesium, Heracleum spp., nitroglycerin, beta-cyclodextrin, Leptospermum pattersoni, Fructulus Ligustri, Salix caprea, and Sesbania grandiflora) decreased in vitro CH4 production by over 50% but did not have enough observations in the database. These should be more extensively investigated in vitro, and the dose effect must be considered before adoption of mitigation interventions in vivo.


enteric methane; ruminal fermentation; in vitro

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2024, Volume: 107, number: 1, pages: 288-300

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    Animal and Dairy Science

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