Seaweed: A planet-saving, anti-burping drug for cows

Seaweed: A planet-saving, anti-burping drug for cows
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Grist / eyup zengin / DeborahMaxemow / Getty Images How scary are cow burps exactly? Measured by their planet-warming power, methane-filled livestock belches are the equivalent of 850 coal plants burning year-round. But scientists have found that spicing up cattle feed with a little seaweed can dramatically reduce the methane they produce, according to a new study out Tuesday. The promise that feed additives could make cows more climate-friendly can seem too good to be true, and it often is. Researchers have tried cloves, garlic, peppermint, and eucalyptus oil , and will get amazing results in test tubes, then find nothing works so well in the real world . In ads last July, a yodeling kid announced that Burger King would buy lemongrass-fed beef, a publicity campaign that lasted until scientists pointed out that lemongrass didn’t end up squelching much methane . Ermias Kebreab with a cow from a previous seaweed feeding study. By contrast, the evidence on a tropical red seaweed, Asparagopsis taxiformis , keeps getting stronger. Scientists began studying the effects of putting seaweed in cow feed in 2005 , and as the experiments have moved out of the lab and into the barn, the promising results […]

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