Sweden Moves Toward Fighting Methane With Seaweed

Agency will study effects of additives in cows' diets
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2023 4:45 PM CDT
Sweden Moves Toward Fighting Methane With Seaweed

Encouraged by early developments in the field, Sweden is stepping up its research into whether seaweed and other additives in cows' diets might cut methane emissions. The country's Environmental Protection Agency has received the government's go-ahead to study the possibilities of feed additives—including the seaweed red algae and the chemical 3-nitrooxypropanol—along with other agencies, the Guardian reports. The effort could include looking into genetic variations between breeds that might affect the amount of methane emitted, in an effort to produce "climate-smart cows."

The idea came from Australian researchers, and University of California Davis researchers have found seaweed works, too. The seaweed keeps microorganisms from producing methane in a cow's first stomach. The Swedish agency cautions that not enough is known about long-term effects of the additives, as well as the socioeconomic impact, per the Guardian. Farmers might need help paying for the additives, an agency analyst said. A pilot project is planned for the UK next year. The European Union approved using the chemical 3-NOP in dairy cows in February 2022. It's been found to reduce methane emissions 30% in dairy cows and 45% in meat cattle, the Swedish agency reported. (More methane stories.)

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