A vibrant pinkish-coloured seaweed that grows in temperate tropical waters could end up being a huge aid in reducing greenhouse gases, if scientists in Australia have their way.

Researchers are currently looking into ways to sustainably mass-produce the crimson-hued algae – called Asparagopsis taxiformis – after a study five years ago demonstrated it almost completely nullified the natural release of methane burped out by cows.

“It contains chemicals that reduce the microbes in the cows’ stomachs that cause them to burp when they eat grass.”

Paul was a member of an Australian research team who in 2014 analysed 20 different species of tropical macroalgae to see which, if any, might best reduce methane production when fed to cattle.

Of the candidates tested, A. taxiformis was the most effective, inhibiting 98.9 percent of the animals’ methane production after 72 hours.

While methane represents a much smaller overall source of atmospheric pollution than carbon dioxide (CO2), its heat-trapping potential makes it much more harmful than CO2, especially in the short term. […]