Algae the next cattle feed

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Algae has drawn a lot of attention lately. Its potential for the biofuels industry, as well as the dairy industry, is bright.

A dairy farm in Modesto, Calif., is looking at algae as a potential mechanism to reduce emissions from its anaerobic digester.

If the algae were to be cultivated for biofuels, significant amounts of an algae by-product would result.

The livestock industry is the attractive option for this by-product. A study from Texas A&M recently looked at the nutritive value of algae. Researchers concluded that future nutritive evaluations of algae and the resulting by-product should focus on its value as a source of nitrogen in ruminant diets. Their findings are presented in this abstract from the American Dairy Science Association annual meeting.

In the September 2010 issue of the Nutritionist e-Network, we shared research from Virginia Tech that indicated algae might be a potential source of omega-3 fatty acids.

More recently, PetroAlgae, a renewable energy company, released a study comparing an algae by-product to 17.5 percent protein alfalfa. The six-week study conducted at the University of Minnesota shows promising results. The study indicates that the algae did as well as alfalfa in dairy cattle diets.

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