While carbon dioxide is typically painted as the bad boy of greenhouse gases, methane is roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas. And one of the biggest sources of the gas comes from agriculture or, more specifically, from cow burps.
In 2014 Australian scientists discovered that a puffy pink seaweed, called Asparagopsis, can completely eliminate methane production when added to the cow feed. Now, scientists want to farm Asparagopsis on a large scale to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions – and the world’s.
One of the leading scientists in the study said that if enough pink seaweed was grown, it could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia by an impressive 10 percent. The seaweed contains a chemical compound that reduces the microbes in the cows’ stomachs that cause them to burb when they eat grass. According to the researchers, adding as little as two percent of dry seaweed to cow feed could completely knock out methane production.
The research team is currently working to figure out a way to maximize the concentration of the chemical within the seaweed so they can use less of it for the same effect.