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Asparagopsis taxiformis decreases enteric methane production from sheep

Li, X., Norman, H.C., Kinley, R.D., Laurence, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-1215-2848, Wilmot, M., Bender, H., de Nys, R. and Tomkins, N. (2016) Asparagopsis taxiformis decreases enteric methane production from sheep. Animal Production Science, 58 (4). pp. 681-688.

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Asparagopsis taxiformis concentrates halogenated compounds that are known to inhibit cobamide-dependent methanogenesis in vitro and, therefore, has potential to mitigate enteric methane production. The present study investigated the effect of Asparagopsis on methane (CH4) production from sheep offered a high-fibre pelleted diet (offered at 1.2 × maintenance) at five inclusion levels of Asparagopsis for 72 days (0% (control), 0.5%, 1%, 2% and 3% organic matter basis as offered). Individual animal CH4 measurements were conducted at 21-day intervals using open-circuit respiration chambers. Asparagopsis inclusion resulted in a consistent and dose-dependent reduction in enteric CH4 production over time, with up to 80% CH4 mitigation at the 3% offered rate compared with the group fed no Asparagopsis (P < 0.05). Sheep fed Asparagopsis had a significantly lower concentration of total volatile fatty acids and acetate, but a higher propionate concentration. No changes in liveweight gain were identified. Supplementing Asparagopsis in a high-fibre diet (<2% organic matter) resulted in significant and persistent decreases in enteric methanogenesis over a 72-day period. Granulomatous and keratotic ruminal mucosa changes were identified in several sheep with Asparagopsis supplementation. While the outcomes of the present study may be extrapolated to feedlot to achieve the antimethanogenic effect associated with Asparagopsis, further work is required to define the long-term effects on productivity and animal health.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © 2016 CSIRO
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