Livestock Feed Additives and Supplements for Methane Reduction

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Feed additives and supplements designed to reduce livestock emissions are specifically formulated ingredients added to animal feed. These ingredients aim to modify the rumen microbiome and digestive processes in ruminant animals, leading to a reduction in methane production during enteric fermentation.

Impact on climate action

Feed additives and supplements offer a promising avenue for reducing emissions from livestock. By enhancing digestion efficiency, they decrease methane production from enteric fermentation, a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This innovation can significantly mitigate the environmental impact of animal agriculture, advancing climate action efforts.


These feed additives and supplements leverage various scientific principles and technologies:

  • Rumen Microbiome Modulation: These additives aim to shift the composition and activity of the rumen microbiome, the complex community of microorganisms in the rumen (the first stomach compartment of ruminant animals). By promoting the growth of microbes that produce less methane or inhibiting methanogenic microbes, these additives can reduce methane emissions.
  • Inhibition of Methanogenesis: Certain compounds directly inhibit the enzymes involved in methanogenesis, the process by which methane is produced in the rumen.
  • Improved Feed Efficiency: Some additives enhance feed digestion and nutrient absorption, improving feed efficiency and reducing the amount of feed required per unit of animal product. This indirectly reduces methane emissions per unit of product.
  • Seaweed Extracts: Extracts from specific seaweed species, such as Asparagopsis taxiformis, have been shown to significantly reduce methane production in ruminants. The bioactive compounds in these seaweeds disrupt the methanogenesis pathway in the rumen.
  • Essential Oils and Plant Extracts: Essential oils and extracts from plants like garlic, citrus, and oregano have antimicrobial properties that can modulate the rumen microbiome and reduce methane emissions.

TRL : Varies (5-8) depending on specific additive and its development stage.

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Synthetic Biology and Genetically Modified Microbes: Researchers are exploring the use of synthetic biology and genetically modified microbes to engineer rumen microorganisms that produce less methane or consume methane as a substrate.
  • Precision Nutrition and Personalized Feed Additives: Advances in data analytics and animal monitoring technologies allow for developing personalized feed additives tailored to individual animals or herds, optimizing their effectiveness.
  • Combination Additives: Combining different types of additives with complementary mechanisms of action can enhance overall methane reduction.
  • Slow-Release Additives: Developing additives with slow-release mechanisms can ensure consistent and prolonged efficacy in reducing methane emissions.
  • Biochar-Based Additives: Incorporating biochar, a charcoal-like material, into feed additives can enhance their effectiveness in modulating the rumen microbiome and adsorbing methane.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Rumen Microbiome Engineering
  • Methanogenesis Inhibition Techniques
  • Seaweed-Based Methane Reduction
  • Antimicrobial Plant Extract Applications
  • Synthetic Biology for Methane Reduction
  • Genetically Modified Microbes Development
  • Personalized Feed Additive Formulation
  • Combination Additives Strategies
  • Slow-Release Methane Reduction Agents
  • Biochar Integration in Feed Additives
  • Animal Monitoring Technology Utilization
  • Multi-Mode Methane Reduction Approaches
  • Continuous Efficacy Enhancement Methods
  • Novel Mechanisms for Methane Adsorption
  • Sustainable Livestock Emission Solutions
  • Climate-Friendly Feed Additive Innovations

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Mootral:
    • Technology Focus: Mootral specializes in developing feed additives that reduce methane emissions from livestock. Their technology may involve innovative formulations of natural compounds or additives that mitigate methane production in the digestive systems of animals.
    • Uniqueness: Mootral stands out for its commitment to addressing one of the significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture‚ÄĒlivestock farming. By reducing methane emissions, they offer a sustainable solution for the industry while also potentially improving animal health and productivity.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments likely include livestock farmers, ranchers, and animal feed producers looking to reduce their environmental footprint and meet sustainability goals.
  • Sea Forest:
    • Technology Focus: Sea Forest focuses on developing seaweed-based feed supplements for livestock. Their technology may involve the cultivation and processing of specific types of seaweed that have been shown to improve animal health, reduce methane emissions, and enhance the nutritional quality of animal products.
    • Uniqueness: Sea Forest’s use of seaweed as a feed supplement offers a natural and sustainable solution to improve livestock farming practices. Seaweed has been shown to have various health benefits for animals and may also contribute to reducing methane emissions from enteric fermentation.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments could include livestock farmers, aquaculture producers, and animal nutrition companies seeking environmentally friendly feed solutions.
  • CH4 Global:
    • Technology Focus: CH4 Global focuses on developing innovative technologies to capture and utilize methane emissions from various sources, including livestock operations. Their solutions may involve methane capture systems, bioconversion technologies, or methane oxidation catalysts.
    • Uniqueness: CH4 Global’s focus on methane capture and utilization distinguishes them in the field of feed additives and supplements. By converting methane emissions into valuable products or energy sources, they offer a dual benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating economic value.
    • End-User Segments: Their target segments may include livestock farmers, biogas producers, waste management companies, and industries with methane emissions from various processes.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Wageningen University & Research:
    • Technology Enhancements: Researchers at Wageningen University & Research are exploring innovative feed additives and supplements that can reduce methane emissions from livestock. They are investigating the use of novel ingredients, such as seaweed extracts and probiotics, which have the potential to modify the microbial populations in the digestive system of animals and mitigate methane production.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Wageningen’s research focuses on a holistic approach to livestock emissions reduction, considering not only methane but also other greenhouse gases and environmental impacts associated with livestock production. They are conducting comprehensive life cycle assessments to evaluate the sustainability and effectiveness of different feed additives and supplements.
    • End-use Applications: The findings from Wageningen’s research have practical applications for the livestock industry worldwide. By incorporating effective feed additives and supplements into animal diets, farmers can reduce methane emissions from ruminant livestock, such as cattle and sheep, without compromising animal health or productivity.
  • University of California, Davis:
    • Technology Enhancements: UC Davis researchers are leveraging cutting-edge biotechnology and genetic engineering techniques to develop feed additives that can mitigate methane emissions from livestock. They are engineering microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, to produce enzymes that break down methane in the animal’s digestive system or inhibit methane-producing microbes.
    • Uniqueness of Research: UC Davis’s approach combines expertise in animal science, microbiology, and genetic engineering to address the challenge of livestock emissions reduction from multiple angles. They are exploring innovative strategies, such as CRISPR-based gene editing, to optimize the effectiveness and safety of feed additives for methane mitigation.
    • End-use Applications: The research at UC Davis has implications for both livestock producers and biotechnology companies. By developing genetically modified feed additives that target methane emissions specifically, UC Davis aims to provide sustainable solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector while meeting the nutritional needs of animals.
  • CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation):
    • Technology Enhancements: CSIRO researchers are investigating natural additives and supplements derived from agricultural by-products and waste streams that can reduce methane emissions from livestock. They are exploring the use of bioactive compounds, such as tannins and essential oils, which have been shown to modulate rumen fermentation and inhibit methane production in ruminant animals.
    • Uniqueness of Research: CSIRO’s research emphasizes the utilization of locally available resources and sustainable agricultural practices to develop feed additives for methane mitigation. They are collaborating with farmers and industry partners to identify promising feed ingredients and test their efficacy under real-world conditions.
    • End-use Applications: The findings from CSIRO’s research have practical applications for livestock producers in Australia and beyond. By incorporating natural feed additives into animal diets, farmers can reduce methane emissions from cattle and sheep, improve feed efficiency, and enhance the sustainability of their operations.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Several feed additives and supplements are already commercially available and being implemented by livestock farmers:

  • Mootral’s feed supplement is being used by dairy farmers in Europe and North America to reduce methane emissions from their cows.
  • Sea Forest is supplying Asparagopsis seaweed to livestock producers in Australia and internationally.