(Enteric methane) greenhouse gas emissions in cows are cut 25% with feed supplement (3-NOP)

The addition of 3-Nitrooxypropanol to the feed of dairy cows reduced their enteric methane emissions by about 25% in a recently published study—one in a series of Penn State studies of the investigational substance in the United States—which might be an early step toward it being approved for use in this country.

‘Often referred to as 3-NOP, the compound inhibits an enzyme that is crucial to the final stage of methane synthesis in a cow’s rumen. When 3-NOP is fed to cattle, their methane production is inhibited, explained researcher Alex Hristov, distinguished professor of dairy nutrition, College of Agricultural Sciences. . . .

‘Compared with the control group, cows ingesting 3-NOP decreased their daily methane emissions by 26%, methane yield by 21% and methane emission intensity by 25%. Significantly, the investigational substance did not affect lactational performance of the cows and in fact increased their feed efficiency per unit of milk yield. The sensory properties of milk from cows fed 3-NOP and cheese made from that milk were not affected by treatment.

‘Methane—a natural byproduct of digestion in ruminants—is released by cows into the atmosphere mostly through belching. So, the results of 3-NOP trials are viewed by many scientists as critical, if the carbon footprint of dairy and beef cattle production is to be reduced to help slow climate change, [Alex] Hristov noted.

‘”3-NOP is the only substance that has worked significantly in reducing enteric methane in cattle and not had unacceptable effects on milk production or quality,” he said. “We have tried many things in recent years—including essential oils, oregano and seaweeds—and they either have been ineffective in the long term or need to be investigated further.”. . .

‘3-NOP is expected to be economical, so farmers could afford to use it, Hristov pointed out. “It could be a game changer, but the question is, will the public accept it,” he said. “It’s a very small synthetic molecule that is metabolized very quickly and falls apart into compounds that are naturally present in the rumen of the cow. Consumer insight studies in the U.S., New Zealand and the Netherlands are showing considerable support for implementing 3-NOP.”‘

Read the whole article, Feed supplement for dairy cows cuts enteric methane emissions by 25%, by Jeff Mulhollem of Pennsylvania State University, in Phys.Org, 24 Feb 2020