Research Council of Norway, Young Research Talents - FRIPRO
Agriculture is the world's single largest provider of food, yet it is also accountable for a significant part of our anthropogenic carbon emissions, including production of methane gas by cows. Nutritional manipulation of methane production is considered a feasible strategy that, however, still is relatively unexplored and where rationalization is still far off. Notably, feeding seaweed to cows has recently emerged as a promising strategy for reducing methane production. Understanding of this effect requires a holistic insight into the maze of metabolic routes that constitutes the rumen microbiome, an elaborate community comprised of bacteria, archaea, viruses and eukaryotes. Despite the rumen microbiome being key in solving the cow-methane problem, definitive links between what the cows eat, their microbiome, their methane emissions and their productivity remain largely unknown.
SeaCow's main objectives are to characterize the microbiome-host interactions that underlie the metabolic transformation during inhibition of enteric methane production in cows using novel seaweed-based nutritional manipulation strategies. Animal feeding trials will elucidate the real effect of seaweed additives on Norwegian Red cattle, whereas a unique state-of-the-art characterization of the rumen microbiome will model metabolic routes and keystone microbial populations that drive host performance and methane emissions. Importantly, this approach entails focus on emerging less studied members of the rumen microbiota (such as eukaryotes). Ultimately, the outcome of the SeaCow project will enhance our understanding of the feed-microbiome-host axis that is crucial to optimize feeding regimes in agriculture to promote an efficient and low methane emitting livestock.
01 Mar 2021
10 Aug 2020
Seaweed collected in Portugal
01 Jul 2020
Master students have important roles during the feeding trials.
The two master students Katrine S. Eikanger (left) and Emma Nyløy (right) have had important roles in the feeding trial. Katrine in the planning of the trial design and analysing methane, milk and performance data, and Emma in looking at the ruminating behaviour of seaweed-eating cows.