Effects of the macroalga Asparagopsis taxiformis and oregano leaves on methane emission, rumen fermentation, and lactational performance of dairy cows

H. A. Stefenoni, S. E. Räisänen, S. F. Cueva, D. E. Wasson, C. F.A. Lage, A. Melgar, M. E. Fetter, P. Smith, M. Hennessy, B. Vecchiarelli, J. Bender, D. Pitta, C. L. Cantrell, C. Yarish, A. N. Hristov

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64 Scopus citations


Asparagopsis taxiformis (AT) is a source of multiple halogenated compounds and, in a limited number of studies, has been shown to decrease enteric CH4 emission in vitro and in vivo. Similarly, oregano has been suggested as a potential CH4 mitigating agent. This study consisted of 2 in vitro and 2 in vivo experiments. Experiment (Exp.) 1 was aimed at establishing the effect of AT on CH4 emission in vitro. Two experiments (Exp. 2 and 3) with lactating dairy cows were conducted to determine the antimethanogenic effect of AT and oregano (Exp. 3) in vivo. Another experiment (Exp. 4) was designed to investigate stability of bromoform (CHBr3) in AT over time. In Exp. 3, 20 Holstein cows were used in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design with four 28-d periods. Treatments were basal diet (control) or basal diet supplemented with (dry matter basis) 0.25% AT (LowAT), 0.50% AT (HighAT), or 1.77% oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) leaves. Enteric gas emissions were measured using the GreenFeed system (C-Lock Inc., Rapid City, SD), and rumen samples were collected for fermentation analysis using the ororuminal technique. In Exp.1 (in vitro), relative to the control, AT (at 1% dry matter basis, inclusion rate) decreased CH4 yield by 98%. In Exp. 3, HighAT decreased average daily CH4 emission and CH4 yield by 65% and 55%, respectively, in experimental periods 1 and 2, but had no effect in periods 3 and 4. The differential response to AT among experimental periods was likely a result of a decrease in CHBr3 concentration in AT over time, as observed in Exp. 4 (up to 84% decrease in 4 mo of storage). In Exp. 3, H2 emission was increased by AT and, as expected, the proportion of acetate in the total volatile fatty acids in the rumen was decreased and those of propionate and butyrate were increased by HighAT compared with the control. Compared with the control, HighAT decreased dry matter intake, milk yield, and energy-corrected milk yield in Exp. 3. Milk composition was not affected by treatment, except lactose percentage and yield were decreased by HighAT. Concentrations of iodine and bromide in milk were increased by HighAT compared with the control. Milk CHBr3 concentration and its organoleptic characteristics were not different between control and HighAT. Oregano had no effect on CH4 emission or lactational performance of the cows in Exp. 3. Overall, AT included at 0.50% in the ration of dairy cows can have a large mitigation effect on enteric CH4 emission, but dry matter intake and milk production may also decrease. There was a marked decrease in the CH4 mitigation potential of AT in the second half of Exp. 3, likely resulting from CHBr3 decay over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4157-4173
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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