SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT proposes to comprehensively screen and test the efficacy in reducing methane emissions from cows, cattle and sheep of natural and native, abundant seaweeds and seaweed fractions that reach the requirements of long-term efficacy, without negative effects on: animal feed intake, the environment, productivity of animals, and food and animals safety.
SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT will provide answers to the following practical issues regarding the development of seaweed feeds for methane emissions reduction including the following research gaps: (1) Nutrition: SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT will provide formulations that are palatable, bioactive and dose specific and will enhance precision feeding approaches that will be adapted by farmers. (2) Delivery: SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT will answer issues concerning delivery of supplements/additives to pasture-fed animals.
To explore novel options for methane reduction and to develop feed ingredients (pellets, licks and flakes) for use by farmers to reduce emissions and improve animal health and nutritional efficiency.
Previous works have focused on housed ruminants. SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT will input significant effort to delivery systems of methane reducing ingredients for pasture raised animals. (3) Developing a convincing economic model: SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT will provide convincing data (economic and scientific) to enable and encourage incentives for the use of any developed seaweed supplements/additives for reduction of methane emissions.
Economic and Life Cycle analysis will be looked at in depth. (4) SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT will encourage more efficient use of local seaweed (feed sources) in livestock feeding. These solutions will be achieved by the combined efforts of internationally recognised scientists, industry participation, use of ICT in animal feeding studies (LRCpH system, metabolic chambers equipped with gas chambers and data acquisition systems, use of RFID tags in feeding trials and remote monitoring of methane emissions using GreenFeed systems).
- To develop novel, science-based, and implementable approaches to reduce methane emissions from sheep, beef cattle and dairy cows through seaweed additions to animal diets.
- To explore more futuristic options (e.g.; development of seaweed feeds from seaweeds produced through aquaculture pond systems) based on emerging knowledge and technologies and by monitoring rumen pH and methane emissions using sensor technologies and capture of this data from animal trials using ICT technologies.
- To harvest and preserve native, sustainable seaweeds, in sufficient quantities (600 kg-1000 kg dry weight) for use as ingredients/raw material for animal feed development through implementation of drying, ensiling and novel technologies (High pressure processing, accelerated solvent extraction).
- To characterise and select native seaweeds for in vitro and animal trials based on their bioactive and safety profiles. The constituent composition of selected seaweeds will be quantified in terms of their peptide, phlorotannin, bacteriocin, bromoform, lipid and small molecule content using chromatography, mass spectrometry and 1H-NMR methods.
- To evaluate effects of seaweeds on total methane gas production using different in vitro rumen fluid models and animal trials. This has not been tested stringently in animal experiments with seaweeds other than Asparagopsis sp. which is not abundantly available (in sufficient quantities) in Europe. ICT technologies will be used in trials where sensors will be used to capture rumen pH, methane emissions and other data which will be captured and analysed using ICT methods.
- To examine the positive nutritional contributions of algae in the diets of sheep, cattle and dairy cows and the impact on milk and meat.
- To understand the mechanisms of action evoked by seaweed inclusion in the diets of sheep, beef cattle and cows in terms of the underlying role of the rumen microbiome. We will use rRNA taxonomy approaches to monitor bacterial and eukaryotic differences post feeding of seaweed i.e Who is possibly responsible? as well as monitoring functional differences using meatgaenomics and metatranscriptomics i.e Which genes are possibly involved.
- To explore novel options for methane reduction and to develop feed ingredients (pellets, licks and flakes) for use by farmers to reduce emissions and improve animal health and nutritional efficiency.
- Political instruments: Our aim is to recommend adequate policy instruments (incentives or regulations) that can be used to secure implementation of the recommended animal diet management outcomes of SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT, based on assessment of the meta-data collected from in vitro and animal trials and rumen microbiota characterisation experiments.
SEASOLUTIONS PROJECT will deliver socio-economic benchmark data for such policies.