COAST TO COW TO CONSUMER
Marine Algae Use to Enhance Milk Production, Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Recover Nutrients
Cows burp, a lot. And each burp releases methane into our Earth’s atmosphere. Supression of this intestinal methane emission from livestock has the potential to drastically reduce the global production of this greenhouse gas, which is about thirty times more potent than carbon dioxide. Research has shown that certain seaweeds contain compounds that can influence cows’ digestion and reduce their methane production.
To continue this research, the US Department of Agriculture has awarded a new $10 million grant to a multidisciplinary team with researchers hailing from schools and laboratories across the country. Nichole Price, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences who also has a research faculty appointment at Colby College, will lead the project team as it tests algae feed additives and assesses the product’s impact on animals, farms, communities, and the planet.
Cows at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport, Maine. (Photo by Jasper Lowe)
“This grant allows us to bring together a multidisciplinary team of world-class experts in their fields.”
— Nichole Price, Project Director
This is Colby’s largest government-funded research grant in the college’s history. Not only will the project include scientific research into agricultural methane reduction, but it will also support substantial teaching and extension projects. Among these projects is turning the scientific findings into an economic opportunity: a team of economists and social scientists will look at how to integrate the seaweed product into the agricultural supply chain and make it profitable for stakeholders.