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Global network for the development and maintenance of nutrition-related strategies for mitigation of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from ruminant livestock

Alexander Hristov (coordinator)

Global Network

Ruminant husbandry is a major source of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG). There is a large body of nutrition-related GHG and ammonia (NH3) mitigation data. These data, however, are not well organized. The GLOBAL NETWORK we propose herein will accumulate, analyze, and systematize these existing resources. The goals of this project are to: (1) Create, update, and expand animal and feed databases for mitigation of enteric methane (CH4); (2) Gain understanding of the contribution of genetic and microbial factors to variation in enteric CH4 production, digestion, and nutrient utilization; (3) Validate markers of enteric methanogenesis for the development and monitoring of CH4 mitigation strategies in ruminants; (4) Create, update, and expand a database of mitigation strategies aimed at improving dietary N utilization and lowering N excretion and NH3 and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from manure; (5) Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and guidelines for conducting and assessing data from in vitro and in vivo studies designed to evaluate nutritional strategies for mitigation of CH4, NH3, and N2O emissions; (6) Develop new and evaluate existing models for predicting CH4 emission and N excretions under various nutritional, animal, and farm management scenarios; and (7) Identify and recommend CH4, NH3, and N2O mitigation technologies that are practical and feasible for the specific conditions of livestock production systems in the consortium countries. These activities will be integrated with the activities of the “Network and Database on Feed and Nutrition in Relation to Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (FNN, currently with 23 member-countries). The research we propose will go beyond developing and maintaining an enteric CH4 mitigation database to also include dietary manipulations to reduce N excretion by the animal, which will mitigate NH3 and N2O emissions from manure storage or land application/deposition. Our multinational team of FNN member countries will assess the performance and relevance of various quantification protocols and SOP developed to calculate emission reduction potential of mitigation strategies for enteric CH4 and N excretion. Intensive
research will be conducted to understand genetic and microbial factors contributing to variability in CH4 production and to validate markers of enteric methanogenesis. Based on the mitigation databases, the team will develop, improve, and evaluate models for predicting CH4 production under various dietary, animal, and farm management conditions and also the impact of diet on excreta composition as related to NH3 and N2O emissions from manure. The proposed GLOBAL NETWORK will fill important knowledge gaps and provide the much needed expert recommendations for future research priorities, methodologies and science-based GHG mitigation solutions to government and non-governmental organizations, advisory/extension networks, and the ruminant livestock sector.