Researchers have been looking for ways to curb cow-based methane emissions for years using interesting techniques like adding curry
to their diets (they weren't into it), potty-training
them, selective breeding, and even vaccines
that help minimize the microbes that cause cows to belch and fart. There's even a new USDA certification
for "low carbon beef" that incentivizes producers who can reduce their cows' greenhouse gas emissions by 10% below the industry's standards. But the latest and greatest trend in reducing methane emissions for livestock is feeding them seaweed. Whereas this idea has been extensively discussed in the past, we're now seeing the results of several years of trials and research.
Venture capitalists are funding companies working in this space, such as Symbrosia
($7M) and Blue Ocean Barns ($20 M). In Sweden, a partnership between a biotech company, Volta Greentech, a food company, Protos, and a grocery store has resulted in the world's first "methane-reduced beef
." They achieved this by supplementing the cow's diet with Asparagopsis taxiformis
seaweed. As great as these new products sound, some food industry and climate gurus warn that this is 'greenwashing'. So let's dig into the data.