How Seaweed Could Slow Down Climate Change

How Seaweed Could Slow Down Climate Change

We are hooked on meat. We chop, slice, and sink our teeth into it, it’s rooted in our genes and culture, and globally speaking, appetites are on the rise. The average amount of meat consumed per person has nearly doubled in the past 50 years. And this demand is putting an incredible amount of pressure on the world’s resources. Is there a way to feed everyone and help the
planet at the same time? Scientists think they might have found something in a new supplement plucked from the ocean. Here at UC Davis’s Beef Barn, a team of
scientists and students are mixing together molasses and a special kind of seaweed. They’ll sprinkle it over the cow's meals, like a nutritional boost. We're using for low dose about a quarter of
a percent. In our high dose is half a percent. It may not seem like much, but this dash of
seaweed is part of a new diet that could help curb greenhouse gas emissions in cows. Livestock are responsible for about 14 and
a half percent of the greenhouse gas emissions. And cattle are far and away the biggest contributors. Usually when you hear about methane from cattle
you think about cow farts and it's actually the complete opposite. Methane from cattle mostly comes from the burps. But methane does not stay too long in the atmosphere, it actually gets destroyed in about ten to twelve years. However, it does have a global warming potential and traps heat within our atmosphere at about 28 times greater than carbon dioxide. But the world’s 1.5 billion cows really
can’t help themselves, it’s in their biology. A majority of the methane that comes from the animal itself is actually through enteric fermentation. There’s microbial populations within their
stomach and these microbial populations are actually degrading the feed and producing byproducts that the cows either absorb into nutrients, or other microbes actually ingest them and create other byproducts. Methane is one of these byproducts. Greenhouse gas emissions are very much related
to the quality of diet, the more forage, the more fiber, you get proportionately more methane emissions. And that’s why this seaweed, Asparagopsis, is so intriguing to an international community of scientists. It was first found in Australia. Some of this Asparagopsis was introduced into a Petri dish with the bacteria from the cow guts. They could actually prevent methane from being
produced. It struck me that this is something that could
also work quite well in real animals. Asparagopsis has an active ingredient called
bromoform. It basically acts as an inhibitor to an enzyme that's required by the microbes to convert hydrogen into methane. It disrupts that process so that methane is not formed. Once the cows finish their dinner, the team will calculate their emissions to see if the seaweed is doing the trick. We use a machine called green feed. When an animal walks in it reads their ear
tag, it drops down feed, and they get to stay there and eat feed. Usually they barrel in there, but these young
steers were a bit camera shy. The machine will take their sample of the
breath and will then automatically analyze it. You can actually monitor it in real time. And their first study with dairy cows netted
some promising results. What we saw was a reduction of up to
60 percent when we feed 1 percent of seaweed to the cows. What we've seen so far is the amount of methane
that can be reduced is proportional to the amount of bromoform that the seaweed contains. This second study with beef steers will be
looking into the overall health of the animal. These animals will be eating seaweed for approximately 200 days. We'll be able to capture that, if there's any long term benefits to feeding seaweed. If it increases any weight gain, we'll be able to see that as well. And another big question on everyone’s mind: we will have taste panels. They will tell us if they can pick up differences in meat quality from steers that have been fed seaweed and those that were not fed seaweed. So while they're trying to understand how Asparagopsis will affect cow health and wellbeing, we're trying to understand how to influence Asparagopsis' health and wellbeing. Dr. Jennifer Smith is a marine biologist at
UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She’s working with the UC Davis team to
see how we can cultivate seaweed responsibly, so this potential solution doesn’t
become a whole new problem. Asparagopsis taxiformis is incredibly beautiful red seaweed. It produces a lot of really unique chemical
compounds, and some of these chemical compounds have been found to be really valuable. Just because we find that it could, potentially,
mitigate methane production in cows doesn't mean that tomorrow we're ready to mass produce Asparagopsis. I knew, given the complexity of this seaweed's life cycle, that it was gonna take a bit of research. When you look at Asparagopsis growing in the wild, you often see these large, pink, feathery, iridescent, beautiful plants, and that is
one of the stages of Asparagopsis that eventually grow into another phase, and that phase looks a little bit like a pink cotton ball. It's a filamentous, very delicate phase. To date, nobody has really completed the life cycle of Asparagopsis in cultivation. In my laboratory at Scripps, we're manipulating things like light, temperature, and nutrient concentrations to explore growth rates and
chemical composition of the tissue. If you can alter light or temperature and
you can get a doubling of growth, that's going to be really important for thinking about scaling up cultivation. Like the UC Davis team, this research
project is at very early stages. There's so much to be done, and it's such
an exciting time. Ultimately, what we need to know is how fast can we grow Asparagopsis, how much space do we need, how much resources do we need, how can we scale this to make it viable as a supplement on a global scale. We don't want to have a cultivation facility
that requires a ton of electricity and power in order to grow the seaweed, because we're trying to, ultimately, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our carbon footprint. There's hope that if this proves out, all
cows around the world could have this supplement added to their diets. It'd be a small tweak with big ramifications. I think every sector, including the animal agriculture sector, needs to find ways to reduce their overall greenhouse gas emissions. We have to be working towards a more sustainable system. It could be complementary to other things that would help in reducing emissions. And so if feeding seaweed at a cost effective way that doesn't negatively affect these animals, I think it's a viable way for us to actually meet those standards. For more science documentaries, check out this one right here. Don't forget to subscribe and keep coming back to Seeker for more videos.

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50 thoughts on “How Seaweed Could Slow Down Climate Change

  1. aint gono happen, companies will not spend (new) more money on the feed, and even if they did, those companies would be limited to industrial countries, because less wealthy countries either dont care or dont have enough money to do so.

  2. I told u. Find the Japanese guy that grows see weeds on nets and use the great garbage patch plastic to make the nets and just fucken let it grow

  3. Buy the way methane and CO2 in the ocean and in all accufers on earth in liquid form are a REFREGERANT IN THE OCEANS, THAT COMPLETELT OFFSET ANY WARMING YOU MIGHT THINK..,!
    People that believe in global warming /climate change ABSENT scientific knowledge of refrigeration is astounding..!
    Methane is too heavy to be a global warming agent is compound is three times as big as CO2 it's simply too heavy to get in the upper atmosphere..!
    Only over a Caldera where gravity is less as in a volcano can it get into the upper atmosphere and it immediately falls back to Earth because it's too damn heavy to be up there..!

  4. Seaweed is the most excellent source of digestible iodine for healthy thyroid..! And for thyroid balance..! It's highly about time someone farming did that..! The healthier our cattle are with respect to this iodine producing plant of the seed the healthier we are..!

  5. No feeding cartel sea wead will help their thyroid and growth thalimis glans..!
    After Chernobyl Fallout fell all over the world are farmers needed seaweed desperately to repair the damaged thyroids in their cattle..! After fall out all of our cattle had the equivalent of human Graves disease…! And if anybody knows anything about Graves disease I do it will drive you mad..! There may be way more to mad cow disease did cows being fed cow parts! Chernobyl Fallout affected all cattle on Earth where ever the radiation fell..! Cattle pigs chickens all got Disease from The Fallout..! You are wrong seaweed has been proven to give Healthy thyroids in humans and Cattle already been proven we needed it desperately after the Fallout from Chernobyl.!

  6. You are idiots methane can't posible cause global warming, it's too heavy in specific gravity of its compound, 20 times heavier than carbon dioxide which is 100 times heavier an oxygen nitrogen air…!
    It can't possibly cause global warming that's why it's found in liquid form at the bottom of all accuforce of all oceans and all water bodies on the planet ..! Your so-called quasi science test how an absolute abandon the refrigeration of principles that control atmosphere…!
    And by the way if it wasn't for microbes that cell divide when exposed to methane we would not have one source of pure water to drink on this planet..! after exposure to methane they sell divide and take in minerals out of that water and take nitrogen out of that water for plant growth and that's the only time they do that after their exposure to methane without methane there is no life on planet Earth ! Now when NASA looks for methane as evidence of life on other planets what the hell are you doing working for NASA and you don't believe in it..!

  7. Just use pasture land, grazing animals capture carbon. Methane doesn’t contribute to global warming. Methane from animals is in a ten year cycle. Carbon monoxide is hundreds of years. So saying cows are the largest greenhouse gas emitter is a lie.

  8. This is when When Patrick becomes Plankton's partner and gives him ideas to compete with the Krusty Krab. BTW those cows are amazing; well kept and we'll fed.

  9. This might be a temporary workaround, but I don't think this will be developed and implemented faster than lab grown meat (and maybe also plant based "meat", if people will ever enjoy that).

  10. I don't think its necessary to change a cow's diet to help solve a problem that we've created… when these animals naturally produce methane long before humans significantly impacted climate change. 🤔🤨

  11. What about the organic arsenic in most seaweed? I'm curious if there would be a chain effect from bioaccumulation (I'm aware that inorganic the more toxic form). Sounds like a good way to rapidly slow down the methane production though.

  12. Smh 🤦‍♀️
    How is it that these liberal channels end up with millions of subscribers and conservative channels don’t?
    It just goes to show how are you brainwashed a majority of the world is.
    Greenhouse gases? Global warming? Globes? Living on a “planet “ SMH

  13. Really stupid thing to do. cows are bad to the planet in so many more ways than that methane issue, which are much more of a deal – food for cattle is the biggest reason for deforestation. terrible "solution". cows should just stop being grown. if there were no cows and their food, which humans eat as well (wheat and soy), there was much more food available for humanity. WHAT A SCAM.

  14. Or… and hear me out… we could just cut back on how much meat is consumed?
    In practice both should be worked toward. It's pretty unrealistic to get people more interested in cutting back on meat consumption. I speak from personal experience… I was very pro-meat and had to come to switching to a vegan life style on my own time.

  15. Those poor cows will be slaughtered. Hopefully we’ll be able to culture the meat without having to grow and kill cows. And maybe this way it will be even more environmentally friendly.

  16. I find these statics to be really bullshit. if you only look at one aspect you get this type of stats. You can make any stat work for you .

  17. morons, did you not notice the sun is white now, 20 years ago it was yellow, oh you didn't notice wow just wow

  18. Beef is basically the coal of animal protein. I love eating it, but trying to make it clean and green is a losing battle. We need to eat more insects and plant protein.

  19. The important thing is we don't stop killing and eating cows. We must do whatever it takes, go to any lengths, to keep killing and eating cows.

  20. if use the plastic from the great paccific plastic dump u can make floting farms . find japanese guy that grow seaweed on nets or something.

  21. "viable way to meet those standards" uhh no. The only way this goes through is if you can offset the cost of the seaweed with some benefit it provides. The meat industry is cutthroat and the only reasonable way to reduce greenhouse emissions is to just stop eating so much meat.

  22. To all vegans and vegetarians in the comments, this is great because it reduces carbon emissions. The entire world won't become vegan, meat has become an important part of our diet whether we really need it or not. This is a great way for non-vegans to reduce their carbon footprint.
    Those of you pointing to lab-grown meat and insects to replace the meat industry are also wrong. Not only are people icky about both of those but currently we can only make burgers and minced meat. People who want to eat a steak can't get one that's grown in a lab because muscle tissue is just too complex, same with crickets they can't substitute for a steak or a piece of lamb.
    So can we just applaud this research?

  23. Take away dairy subsidies from farmers who don't use this new idea? Once the seaweed production has matured obviously.

  24. solution: indoor cow farming, then collect all the methane and compress it into a liquid gas and use as fuel or electricity generation, collect the imitions from the burning of the methane and filter out the carbon, releasing only oxygen…

  25. Is this a joke ? Are you fuckin joking ? STOP eating the fuckin animal…The reason we eat so much meat is the same why we eat so much processed food…big corporations tell us to do that thro advertising…it has nothing to do with necessity… People who eat at McDonalds can't claim they eat meat because of the flavor…

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