Researcher Dr. Rob Kinley checks a macroalgae being grown at the Australian Tropical Sciences Innovation Precinct in Townsville, Australia.

Researcher Dr. Rob Kinley checks a macroalgae being grown at the Australian Tropical Sciences Innovation Precinct in Townsville, Australia.

J dropcapon Condon writes in BeefCentral.com that Australian researchers working on the potential production and use of algae as both a feed source and a means of reducing livestock methane emissions have filed a patent on a species of red macroalgae found to have powerful methane-reducing properties.

The application is the result of promising results coming from collaborative work involving the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and James Cook University examining the use of algae supplements, as part of the National Livestock Methane Program (NLMP).

Project leader Nigel Tomkins said macroalgae were rich in minerals, vitamins, proteins, and polysaccharides and had excellent potential to be used as a supplement for livestock.

“In addition, we’ve found that certain algae are particularly good at increasing feed conversion and reducing methane output in cattle. So good in fact, it was decided to apply to patent one species of red algae,” Dr. Tomkins said.

The National Livestock Methane Program is a national collaborative program focused on providing cattle and sheep producers with options to increase their productivity while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases from their livestock. Patent applicants are Meat & Livestock Australia, CSIRO and James Cook University. A decision on the application is expected later this year.