Methane Reduction from Cattle

Bioengineering Design
Course 20 
Final Project

Institution / Institucion
Supervisors / Supervisors
James J. Collins, John M Essigmann, 
Prerna Bhargava, Sean Aidan Clarke 
/ Fecha
Fall 19

Collaborators / Colaboradores
Shin Chang, Santiago Munoz,
Sally Liu, Marissa McPhillips

Cows are the largest contributor to anthropogenic methane emissions globally. Additionally, the process of methane production in cows utilizes energy that leads to reduction in feed efficiency. Mitigation strategies are urgently needed to meet the rising demand for beef and dairy products while minimizing environmental impact and economic burden. Existing dietary strategies to mitigate methane emissions face distinct obstacles: scalability issues prevent the widespread use of seaweed in cow diets and the methanogenesis inhibitor 3-NOP is short-lived and does not offer any feed efficiency benefits. Previous studies have correlated lower methane emissions in tammar wallabies with a higher population of Succinivibrionacea, a strain of bacteria responsible for succinate production in the rumen microbiome (Pope et al. 2011),. Other studies demonstrated that low methane-emitting cows had a higher abundance of Succinivibrionaceae in their rumen microbiome compared to high methane-emitting cows (Wallace et al. 2015). We propose the creation of a direct-fed microbial product to stimulate the growth of Succinivibrionaceaee in the rumen microbiome in order to lower methane production in cows through hydrogen competition. Through the use of bacteriophage to create a new niche, we can open space in the microbiome for Succinivibrionaceae to populate and increase in abundance. Our solution aims to reduce methane emissions and additionally improve feed efficiency, as the production of methane has no positive energetic value for the cow. Usage of our product  which can also provide economic benefits for cattle ranchers to meet the market demand while minimizing the environmental footprint of cows.