The technology is being developed to work on all ruminants
Spotted: With more than a billion cattle worldwide contributing up to six per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, innovators and farmers are working together to find ways to transform farming into a more sustainable industry. And cattle aren’t the only ruminants that emit methane. Sheep and goats do, too, meaning that total livestock emissions are even higher.
In the United States, ArkeaBio is joining the handful of companies worldwide seeking a vaccine to reduce methane emissions from ruminants. Companies that are developing such a vaccine vary in their predictions of how much methane could be eliminated, with estimates ranging from 30 to almost 100 per cent.
Development is particularly tricky because the vaccine must work on specific microbes in such a way that does not upset an animal’s normal digestive processes. It also must be strong enough to need only periodic administration. Affordability is a key consideration as ranchers and farmers, particularly those with larger herds, will not be able to spend money and time on regularly recurring vaccination programmes. The farmers must also be able to easily integrate the new technology into existing work processes, especially those whose animals graze, rather than feed in a barn.
ArkeaBio is working towards a commercial availability date for its affordable and scalable technology of either 2025 or 2026 depending on how quickly the company can attain regulatory approval. If a vaccine such as this does become available, it could make one of the world’s most significant reductions in GHG emissions. Having recently closed a $12 million (around €11.3 million) round of seed funding, ArkeaBio plans to use the investment to advance the company’s research and begin to scale trials across different geographies and systems of farming.
Written By: Keely Khoury