Use of Lactic Acid Bacteria to Reduce Methane Production in Ruminants, a Critical Review

Front Microbiol. 2019 Oct 1;10:2207. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02207. eCollection 2019.

Abstract

Enteric fermentation in ruminants is the single largest anthropogenic source of agricultural methane and has a significant role in global warming. Consequently, innovative solutions to reduce methane emissions from livestock farming are required to ensure future sustainable food production. One possible approach is the use of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Gram positive bacteria that produce lactic acid as a major end product of carbohydrate fermentation. LAB are natural inhabitants of the intestinal tract of mammals and are among the most important groups of microorganisms used in food fermentations. LAB can be readily isolated from ruminant animals and are currently used on-farm as direct-fed microbials (DFMs) and as silage inoculants. While it has been proposed that LAB can be used to reduce methane production in ruminant livestock, so far research has been limited, and convincing animal data to support the concept are lacking. This review has critically evaluated the current literature and provided a comprehensive analysis and summary of the potential use and mechanisms of LAB as a methane mitigation strategy. It is clear that although there are some promising results, more research is needed to identify whether the use of LAB can be an effective methane mitigation option for ruminant livestock.

Keywords: bacteriocins; direct-fed microbials; lactic acid bacteria; methane; methanogens; mitigation; silage inoculants.

Publication types

  • Review