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Refining direct fed microbials (DFM) and silage inoculants for reduction of methane emissions from ruminants.


Background: Methlab has been funded by FACCE ERA-GAS, an EU ERA-NET Cofund programme whereby national money is pooled to fund transnational projects, and the European Commission also provides co-funding for the action. FACCE ERA-GAS is the ERA-NET Cofund for Monitoring and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases from Agri- and Silvi-culture, and comprises funding agencies and project partners from 19 organisations across 13 European countries. Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, is the overall coordinator of the ERA-NET. METHLAB was one of 10 successful projects to be funded from 79 proposals from across Europe, USA and New Zealand.

METHLAB Introduction: Reducing agricultural green-house-gas (GHG) emissions is a challenge, particularly as agricultural intensity is increasing globally. In this proposal, on-farm lactic acid bacteria (LAB) technologies such as feed supplements and/or silage inoculants, currently used to increase production and improve health of ruminant animals, will be refined with a methane-reducing benefit.

METHLAB Project aims:

  • To develop a prioritized list of METHLAB strains with known ability to reduce methane in ruminant animals
  • To incorporate METHLAB strains with known ability to reduce methane in ruminants into a product prototype (DFM and/or silage inoculant) to facilitate implementation at farm level
  • To evaluate METHLAB strain(s) in ruminants (sheep and dairy cows) to confirm efficacy of methane reduction in vivo and on production parameters (dairy cows)
  • To develop an Intellectual Property (IP) Management Plan (the Plan), established by all participating institutes to address management of IP that will be developed as a result of the work performed.

Live microbial cultures with demonstrated ability to reduce methane in vitro and suitable for industrial use will be isolated and exploited in animal trials, to confirm efficacy of methane reduction effects on the rumen microbiome and production parameters in vivo. A route to market is considered relatively straightforward as DFMs and silage inoculants have LAB as a main microbial ingredient and are already commercially available, accepted, and used on farms worldwide. This proposal thus supports the development of a competitive, sustainable and profitable global Agri-food sector. The partners in this proposal are all from Global Research Alliance (GRA) member countries that share the goal of reducing methane emission intensity across ruminant classes in a manner that maintains agricultural production and sustains environmental integrity.

Expected results and benefits: METHLAB has brought together a transnational multidisciplinary team of experts to generate new knowledge and solutions to mitigate GHG emissions. The overall goal of METHLAB is to identify and select innovative methane-reducing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) which can be successfully incorporated into ruminant feedstuffs to create a more sustainable, emission-efficient food production system.

  1. A prioritized list of METHLAB strains with known ability to reduce methane in ruminant animals
  2. Optimised METHLAB strain(s) incorporated into an appropriate product (DFM and/or silage inoculant) to facilitate implementation at farm level
  3. Building capacity and knowledge sharing between countries to foster synergies and strengthen co-operation and collaboration to address the challenge of greenhouse gases emissions
  4. Create environmental benefits with the potential to deliver green jobs and increase competitiveness
  5. Promote the scientific findings and technological solutions to all relevant stakeholders (from the farmer to policy makers)


Project Coordinator in APC Microbiome Ireland: Prof. Catherine Stanton, APC Microbiome Ireland, Teagasc Moorepark Food Research Centre, Cork, Ireland

Email: Phone:  +3532542606


Other Project Partners:

Organisation: APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork

Name: Prof. Paul Ross and Colin Hill

Country: Ireland


Organisation: Wageningen University and Research (WUR)

Name: Prof. Wilbert Pellikaan

Country: The Netherlands


Organisation: INRA

Name: Dr. Milka Popova and Diego Morgavi

Country: France


Organisation: AgResearch Limited (AgR)

Name: Dr. Graeme Attwood and Sinead Leahy

Country: New Zealand


Organisation: Sacco S.r.l. (SACCO)

Name: Dr. Ines Martinez

Country: Italy