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Low Carbon Cows–Thanks to Algae

Growing pressures on global food and water supplies around the globe are making it more difficult to raise livestock without significant environmental impacts. Cows, for example, can have a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions because of the energy required to grow the grains they eat. One recent study found that this is yet another area where algae can have a beneficial impact.

Researchers at Iowa State University were able to replace a substantial amount of cattle feed with algae biomass that is left over after it has been processed to make biofuels and other products.

“After the oil extraction process, the algae residue includes some fat, fiber, and protein, all essential nutrients for cattle,” says Stephanie Hansen, an associate professor of “beef feedlot nutrition” at Iowa State University and one of the authors of the study. “Cattle are well suited to digesting fibrous feedstuffs like the algae meal, making it a great ruminant feedstuff.”

Since algae can be grown with substantially less water, less land, and less energy than other crops they may make an ideal substitute for terrestrially grown crops that are usually get to livestock.

Check out the full story at Co.Exist.

Want to learn more about applications for algae in agriculture and other industries. Be sure to head to the Algae Biomass Summit in Washington, DC, September 2-October 29, 2015.

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