Reports from EuroTier 2022

Silvateam shoring up evidence for tannin-based methane emissions reduction

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Velishchuk
© GettyImages/Velishchuk

Related tags tannins methane emissions Silvateam

Silvateam is undertaking trials in beef cattle in Brazil on its additive, a blend of chestnut and quebracho tannins and saponins designed to reduce methane emissions in ruminants, following on from its recently formed partnership with JBS.

A leading producer of tannins and other plant-based extracts, the Italian company has been investing resources in the development of supplements to mitigate ruminants’ greenhouse-effect gas (GHG) emissions, in terms of both methane and of nitrous oxide (N2O), Liam Ward, marketing specialist, Silvateam, told us when we caught up with him at EuroTier 2022 in Hanover last month.

Since 2021, Silvateam has been collaborating in a research project with the School of Zootechnics in São Paulo, Brazil, and JBS, as part of that animal protein processor’s goal to develop and expand the use of feed additives to lower methane emissions in beef cattle. 

"We have been carrying out several trials in different continents and the results of the studies, to date, demonstrate that the use of our additive, Silvafeed BX, can reduce enteric methane emissions up to 20%," ​he said.

JBS and Silvateam also partnered on the Livestock Farming Methane Forum​ in May this year, an event aimed at promoting debates around livestock methane emissions.

And the Italian company, which has been collaborating with renowned universities in the US on this area as well, including UC Davis, was recently awarded a Carbon Trust opinion validating that Silvafeed bioactive compounds can reduce methane emissions in ruminant livestock.

Silvafeed BX’s additive’s components, explained Ward, improve nutrient use efficiency in ruminants and act synergistically as anti-methanogenic agents. 

Binding capabilities 

According to a paper​ in the journal, Sustainability​, tannins bind strongly to proteins in the rumen and this is the main reason they reduce proteolysis in the rumen and increase protein outflow to the abomasum and intestine. “Exact mechanisms of mitigating enteric methane are likely to vary with tannin source but may include direct inhibition of methanogens, inhibition of protozoa, binding to polysaccharides as well as proteins, and an increase in propionate production.”

Silvateam maintains that Silvafeed BX can also lower N20 emissions, another highly potent GHG, due to the co-benefits from the additive’s components, which enable an improved protein supply plus a shift from urine to fecal excretion of nitrogen. 

The impact on methane emissions and N20 output varies based on the dosage use, the type of animal, the diet and duration of usage, said the producer.

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