The company said this will significantly reduce the environmental footprint of milk and dairy products.
Methane is a natural by-product of digestion in cows and other ruminants, the majority of which is released into the atmosphere through burping and breathing and responsible for more than half of the cow’s carbon footprint.
Like CO2, methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Methane is a short-lived, but much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Reducing global methane emissions could therefore help lower the rate of global warming in the near term, helping stay within the 1.5-2°C maximum temperature rise indicated in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Just a quarter teaspoon of the feed additive per cow per day suppresses the enzyme that triggers methane production in a cow’s stomach. Upon feeding, the additive takes effect immediately. After suppressing methane production in the stomach, it is broken down into compounds already naturally present in the cow’s stomach.
The additive is a result of DSM’s Project Clean Cow, a ten-year R&D project.
Mark van Nieuwland, program director at DSM, said, “We’re excited to start registration in Europe. This is an important milestone. Our science-based solution has the potential to be a real game-changer in the global effort to reduce the climate impact of the foods we know and love. Because of its global warming potency, mitigating methane emissions will be a powerful lever for the dairy sector to take action on the climate emergency.”
DSM said the feed additive efficacy has been confirmed in 26 peer-reviewed studies globally.
The additive will be available in Europe as soon as EU authorization is granted, with a launch in the region anticipated in late 2020 or early 2021. Registrations in other regions will follow.