Aussie firm targeting methane emissions reduction starts cattle trial

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/FrankRamspott
© GettyImages/FrankRamspott

Related tags methane emissions

Australian company, Rumin8, has commenced a livestock trial at the University of New England to determine dietary preferences in cattle to support its methane emissions mitigation work.

Rumin8 is developing feed supplements, in liquid, solid or slow-release dose formats, aimed at reducing methane emissions from livestock, with it targeting both feedlot and pasture applications.

The company says it looks to identify naturally occurring compounds that have anti-methanogenic properties and instead of harvesting and extracting them from plants, reproduces them in “a highly efficient, low cost, scalable, and high-quality process”​ to feed to livestock in order to reduce their emissions.

The new study is looking to determine which ration cattle find more palatable and more likely to eat, and how the formulation they choose impacts reductions in methane generation. 

Lab work supporting the Rumin8 trial © Rumin8

The cattle in the trial will be provided the choice of a total mix ration containing different doses of a Rumin8’s anti-methanogenic feed additive, as well as a control product.

The company said the trial will help inform efficacy, dosing, and palatability decisions as Rumin8 moves from in vitro to in vivo trials.

“If cattle won’t eat a ration because they don’t like a particular dose rate or formulation, then it doesn’t matter how effective the feed additive is at reducing methane generation because it won’t be ingested by the animal and farmers won’t use it because it limits weight gain in their cattle,” ​said Rumin8 CEO David Messina.

“If cattle do avoid a particular treatment we have the ability to adjust taste or delivery mechanism to overcome the issue, but success for us is that cattle demonstrate zero feeding preference and we can focus on dosing and its impact on efficacy.”

He said due to the manufacturing process used by Rumin8 to create its anti-methanogenic feed additives, the company was able to generate a highly repeatable product with respect to dosing.

“Our laboratory work to date indicates that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to dosing. In some cases, product with lower concentrations of the active ingredient performed just as well as high concentrations.”

Climate fund investors have backed the Australian innovator, with Rumin8 generating AUS $7m in capital in July this year. US-based Prelude Ventures and the Aware Super Sentient WA Growth Fund managed by Australian-based Sentient Impact Group, contributed the equity funding.

In June the company revealed it had also received a $650,000 grant from AusIndustry’s Entrepreneur’s Program to accelerate the commercialization of its feed additives.

Rumin8 previously reported that in vitro trials of its first product at the University of Western Australia reduced methane production in sheep by more than 90% by day three, with almost total elimination by day five. 

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