• Reduce text

    Reduce text
  • Restore text size

    Restore text size
  • Increase the text

    Increase the text
  • Print

    Print

Methods for reducing methane production in ruminants using a novel food supplement

Scientists from the Herbivores research unit have demonstrated that use of a feed supplement resulting from the fermentation of a cereal grain by a fungus belonging to the Monascus genus reduces by up to 30% methane production in ruminants

Chez les herbivores, la digestion des végétaux conduit à la production de méthane. Les quantités produites sont variables selon le site de la digestion microbienne, ruminale ou intestinale, l’espèce animale, le type de production (lait, viande ...), le stade physiologique de l’ ANIMAL  et la nature des aliments consommés.,Les quantités de méthane émises par les bovins en France ont déjà été évaluées lors d’études menées à l‘INRA. La photos représente des animaux porteur de système de prélèvement.. © INRA, CHARRIER Xavier
By Inra Transfert (+33 1 42 75 93 54)
Updated on 09/26/2013
Published on 07/01/2013

Emissions of methane (CH4) in the atmosphere are a real concern since this greenhouse gas has a Global Warming Potential 25 times greater than CO2. For the last 200 years, the level of atmospheric CH4 has more than doubled, mainly due to human activities, including livestock farming. Indeed, ruminants such as cattle have a pre-gastric fermentation chamber, the rumen, where microbes break down feeds and produce CH4 as a byproduct. For instance, a dairy cow emits about 90 kg of CH4 per year representing about 7% of the ingested gross energy.
INRA scientists from the Herbivores research unit have developed a method to reduce CH4 production in ruminants using a feed or a feed supplement resulting from the fermentation of a substrate by at least one fungal microorganism belonging to the Monascus genus. The Monascus species used are harmless to humans and animals. These fungi are traditionally used in Chinese cuisine and their consumption has been authorized by EFSA and FDA. Researchers have shown that an organic substrate fermented by a strain of the Monascus ruber species and added to the diet of ruminants (sheep) has significantly reduced (30%) CH4 emissions in these animals. The organic substrate fermented by Monascus can be obtained from grains such as rice, wheat and maize, and their derivatives. An important aspect of the invention is that the feed intake of supplemented animals with the substrate fermented by Monascus or essentially consisting of this product rapidly decreases the methane production without affecting rumen fermentation. Researchers have also demonstrated a significant decrease in the number of methanogenic archaea in the rumen of animals receiving Monascus-fermented feeds without affecting the populations of bacteria and protozoa.
INRA Transfert is seeking partners involved in animal feed industry in order to develop INRA’s patented technology (WO2011/117552; EP, U.S, CA) through licence or licence option with R&D program. The product resulting from the fermentation of an organic substrate by at least one fungal microorganism belonging to the Monascus genus could be marketed as a feed supplement or as a bioactive feed additive for reducing methane production in ruminants.

Contact(s)
Scientific contact(s):

  • Diego MORGAVI Herbivore Joint Research Unit, 63122 SAINT-GENES-CHAMPANELLE
  • Hamid BOUDRA Herbivore Joint Research Unit, 63122 SAINT-GENES-CHAMPANELLE
INRA Transfert’s licensing-out officer:
Alice AGASSE (+33 1 42 75 93 54)
Associated Division(s):
Animal Physiology and Livestock Systems , Social Sciences, Agriculture and Food, Rural Development and Environment.
Associated Centre(s):
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Find out more

  • Morgavi DP, Martin C, Boudra H, Fungal secondary metabolites from Monascus spp. reduce rumen methane production in vitro and in vivo. J. Anim. Sci. 2013, 91:848-860

Figure 1

Curve of in vivo methane production. © INRA
Curve of in vivo methane production © INRA

Curve of in vivo methane production by sheep fed a diet containing the feed supplement of the invention (“Treatment”).