An international team of researchers have demonstrated that feeding a compound known as 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) could reduce ruminant methane emissions without any apparent negative effects. Their report, titled “Mode of action uncovered for the specific reduction of methane emissions from ruminants by the small molecule 3-nitrooxypropanol,” is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), also notes that the additive could reduce the volume of feed energy currently lost to methane emissions, instead channeling that energy to growth. The most recent research report outlines the mode of action for 3-NOP, while a previous article, also published in PNAS, documented the effect.

In their latest report, the researchers describe how 3-NOP has had an effect on methane-producing microbes known as arqueas methanogens, without affecting bacteria that contribute to digestion in the animal’s rumen.

Methane from ruminant digestion often is cited as a significant contributor to global climate change, and the use of 3-NOP in cattle feeds could reduce methane emissions by up to 30 percent, according to the researchers.

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