In Vitro Response of Rumen Microbiota to the Antimethanogenic Red Macroalga Asparagopsis taxiformis
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The red macroalga Asparagopsis taxiformis has been shown to significantly decrease methane production by rumen microbial communities. This has been attributed to the bioaccumulation of halogenated methane analogues produced as algal secondary metabolites. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of A. taxiformis supplementation on the relative abundance of methanogens and microbial community structure during in vitro batch fermentation. Addition of A. taxiformis (2% organic matter) or the halogenated methane analogue bromoform (5 μM) reduced methane production by over 99% compared to a basal substrate-only control. Quantitative PCR confirmed that the decrease in methane production was correlated with a decrease in the relative abundance of methanogens. High-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing showed that both treatments reduced the abundance of the three main orders of methanogens present in ruminants (Methanobacteriales, Methanomassiliicoccales and Methanomicrobiales). Shifts in bacterial community structure due to the addition of A. taxiformis and 5 μM bromoform were similar and concomitant with increases in hydrogen concentration in the headspace of the fermenters. With high potency and broad-spectrum activity against rumen methanogens, A. taxiformis represents a promising natural strategy for reducing enteric methane emissions from ruminant livestock.
KeywordsMethane Rumen Livestock Seaweed Bromoform
We thank Dr. Mike Devery for kindly supplying the bromochloromethane used in this study and Dr. Matthew Vucko for assistance with the experiments. We also thank Jeffrey Palpratt from the College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Sciences for handling and maintenance of the donor steers, and Dr. Shane Askew from the Advanced Analytical Centre, JCU, for analytical advice.
This research was supported by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Meat & Livestock Australia, funded as part of the National Livestock Methane Program. It was also supported by MBD Energy and the Australian Government through the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre, funded through the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Scheme.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Experimental protocols were approved by the CSIRO Animal Ethics Committee (A5/2011) under the Australian Code of Practice for Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes
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