Investigating methane mitigation in beef cattle fed with natural additives

Sharon Huws, Mariana Ornaghi, Rodolpho Martin do Prado, Linda Oyama

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Antibiotics are extensively fed to beef cattle as they act as rumen modulators, improving animal efficiency and decreasing methane emissions. However, current recommendations by health agencies to limit/ban antibiotic use in animal production call for alternatives such as natural additives. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the efficacy of natural additives in methane mitigation. Bulls (½Angus and ½Nellore)16±2.2 months old, with average body weight of 385±20.7 kg were fed a basal diet (70% concentrate, 30% corn silage) offered ad libitum for 62 days in a feedlot and randomized on five treatments (8 bulls/treatment): control treatment, and addition of 1.5, 3.0, 4.5, or 6.0 g/day/animal of a blend of natural additives containing 37.5% each of clove essential oil, the commercial blend containing vanillin, eugenol and thymol, 12.5% and 12.5% of castor and cashew oils). Methane production from rumen fluid was estimated based on the theoretical fermentation balance for observed molar distribution of VFAs in the rumen. DNA extracted from rumen fluid were sequenced and analysed for methane genes within the MG-RAST database. The natural additives linearly reduced methane production (76%, P<0.02). Evaluation of Archaea abundance showed a reduction (79%, P<0.05) in the major methane producing genera: Halorhabdus, Ferroplasma, Methanoplanus, Picrophilus. A reduction of Fibrobacter and Lactobacillus (71%), the greatest producers of acetate which release hydrogen for the formation of methane (P<0.05) was also observed. Our findings suggest that natural additives such as essential oils may be useful in the mitigation of greenhouse gases such as methane in animal production.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
EventMicrobiology Society Annual Conference 2018 - International Conference Centre (ICC), Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201813 Apr 2018


ConferenceMicrobiology Society Annual Conference 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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