A diet of red algae could save the planet from greenhouse gases

It is not volcanic eruptions with the release of millions of tons of matter into the air, not the work of hundreds of millions of cars with internal combustion engines, and not forest fires that create the bulk of greenhouse gases. Livestock is the main source of CO2 and greenhouse methane. It so happened in the course of evolution that the ability to eat low-calorie grass is achieved due to the work of many microbes in the multichamber stomachs of large herbivores. And the waste product of these microbes is the same methane.

By some progressive estimates, intestinal gas and the belching of cows and sheep generate about 50% of all air emissions, and something needs to be done about it. World science is unable to develop new GMO breeds that can feed on plastic or sawdust without emitting methane. But a young chemist Alexia Akbay from Symbrosia offered her solution.

As early as the beginning of the century, Canadian farmer Joe Dorgan organized the collection of algae for the subsequent addition to the diet of his livestock. He noticed that they looked healthier from such food, and in the sheds they smell much less. Akbay conducted research and found the optimal species - the red algae Asparagopsis Taxiformis. It is enough to add only 2% of this dried algae to sheep feed to reduce the amount of methane in their belching by 65-70%.

These data are obtained from practical experiments on several farms. The principle of action of algae is based on the creation of a kind of barriers inside the stomach, which prevent hydrogen and CO2 from entering into a bond, as a result of which methane CH4 is formed. At high concentrations of relatively heavy methane, it is excreted from the sheep's body through intestinal gases. But if predominantly light hydrogen remains in the stomach, it is easy to get rid of it with the help of natural belching.