Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Macroalgae Microbiomes May Hold the Key to Reducing Methane Emissions From Ruminant Livestock

Version 1 : Received: 29 September 2021 / Approved: 1 October 2021 / Online: 1 October 2021 (11:39:15 CEST)

How to cite: Ceh, J. Macroalgae Microbiomes May Hold the Key to Reducing Methane Emissions From Ruminant Livestock. Preprints 2021, 2021100010 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202110.0010.v1). Ceh, J. Macroalgae Microbiomes May Hold the Key to Reducing Methane Emissions From Ruminant Livestock. Preprints 2021, 2021100010 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202110.0010.v1).

Abstract

Ruminant mammals extract nutrients from plant-based food through fermentation in the rumen; fiber and starch are pre-digested by microorganisms and methane is produced as a by-product, which released into the atmosphere acts as a potent greenhouse gas. In an effort to reduce enteric methanogenesis, dietary additives for ruminants have been investigated, and marine macroalgae have proven particularly promising, e.g., the inclusion of 0.2% dry matter of the red alga A. taxiformis into cow feed decreased in vivo methane production by up to 98%. Thus, if globally applied, the addition of algae in ruminant diets could revolutionize the management of greenhouse gas emissions across the livestock sector. However, the ozone-depleting nature of halogen compounds produced in Asparagopsis sp. and the reported adverse health impacts on humans, along with impracticability issues and the difficulty to produce, commercialize and distribute algae widely, has sown some doubt on the feasibility of using macroalgae as methane mitigation instruments. To circumvent such obstacles, and taking into account the paradigm that eukaryotic hosts cannot be understood without considering interactions with their associated microbiome, the exploration of marine algae associated microorganisms is anticipated. Following the notion that in the close and intimate relationships between algae-hosts and their microbiota the origin of chemical response mechanisms is often unclear, and that compounds initially assigned to algae have previously been shown to stem from host-associated microbes, it is not unreasonable to think that these may be involved in the antimethanogenic effects of marine algae in the rumen. Once identified, such microorganisms could lead to antimethanogenic feed additives, and reduce enteric methanogenesis from livestock ruminants substantially. This review is three-fold: it provides a brief, historic overview of macroalgae as feed supplements for ruminants, sums up the difficulties related to using whole-macroalgae as large-scale antimethanogenic feed additives, and describes the macroalga microbiome, including its potential to serve as an antimethanogen for enteric fermentation.

Keywords

Greenhouse gases; methanogenesis; meat production; algae; microorganisms

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