Lab experiment indicates omega-3 products could lower methane output in dairy cows

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/urbancow
© GettyImages/urbancow

Related tags methane emissions Anpario

An in vitro study suggests two of Anpario’s products help to reduce methane emissions by up to 10% in dairy cows.

The company said the research was carried out at the University of Reading in 2021 to assess the effect of two of its products - Optomega Algae and Optomega Plus - on gas and methane production when supplemented in the ration.

Optomega Algae is composed of dried algae blended with a non GM rapeseed oil formulated on a mixed carrier system to produce a source of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, while Optomega Plus is a blend of sustainably sourced fish oils on a mineral carrier, again containing omega-3 fatty acids, it explained.

The addition of oils and omega-3 fatty acids to dairy cow diets have been shown to help reduce methane production, noted the UK feed additives producer.


In terms of the methodology used for the in vitro​ work, a standard procedure similar to Sinclair et al., (2005) was used in a 24-hour batch culture model, in triplicate, reported Anpario.

The basal total mixed ration (TMR) used in both experiments was a typical UK grass and maize silage-based diet plus concentrates, it added.

Optomega Algae was included to provide the equivalent of 100g per cow per day while Optomega Plus was included to provide the equivalent of 160g per cow per day.

Methane analysis was carried out using gas chromatography for both experiments. Gas pressure readings were taken at various intervals in the 24-hour period.


The team saw that cumulative gas production was reduced with both products over the duration of the studies.

Compared to control diets, the cumulative methane output was 10.8% lower in the Optomega Plus experiment while it was 6.6% lower in the Optomega Algae study, said the producer.

Dr Wendy Wakeman, Anpario’s global technical director, said: “To put the results into context, for a 200-cow dairy herd, the lower methane output could support a reduction in carbon footprint of up to 80 tons per year of CO2-equivalents with Optomega Plus, and up to 51 tons per year with Optomega Algae.” 

That calculation is based on a consolidated estimate from various data models presented in several peer reviewed published papers, she said.

"The results demonstrated an additional benefit to the dairy farmer in terms of Optomega product supplementation, as the primary purpose of using those products is to support pregnancy rates and longevity within the herd, whilst maintaining milk quality,​" Dr Wakeman told FeedNavigator.

She said that Anpario intends to carry out in vivo​ research on that range in relation to methane emissions reduction in the near future.

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