Harnessing plant bioactivity for enteric methane mitigation in Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review provides examples of the utilisation of plant bioactivity to mitigate enteric methane (CH4) emissions from the Australian ruminant production systems. Potential plant-based mitigation strategies that reduce CH4 without major impacts on forage digestibility include the following: (i) low methanogenic tropical and temperate grass, legume and shrub forage species, which offer renewable and sustainable solutions and are easy to adopt, but may have restricted geographical distribution or relatively high costs of establishment and maintenance; (ii) plant-based agricultural by-products including grape marc, olive leaves and fruit, and distiller's grains that can mitigate CH4 and provide relatively cheap high-nutrient supplements, while offsetting the impact of agricultural waste, but their use may be limited due to unfavourable characteristics such as high protein and water content or cost of transport; (iii) plant extracts, essential oils and pure compounds that are abundant in Australian flora and offer exciting opportunities on the basis of in vitro findings, but require verification in ruminant production systems. The greatest CH4 mitigation potential based on in vitro assays come from the Australian shrubs Eremophila species, Jasminum didymium and Lotus australis (>80% CH4 reduction), tropical forages Desmanthus leptophyllus, Hetropogon contortus and Leucaena leucocephala (similar to 40% CH4 reduction), temperate forages Biserrula pelecinus (70-90% CH4 reduction), perennial ryegrass and white clover (similar to 20% CH4 reduction), and plant extracts or essential oils from Melaleuca ericifolia, B. pelecinus and Leptospermum petersonii (up to 80% CH4 reduction). Further research is required to confirm effectiveness of these plant-based strategies in vivo, determine optimal doses, practical modes of delivery to livestock, analyse benefit-cost ratios and develop pathways to adoption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1160-1172
Number of pages13
JournalAnimal Production Science
Issue number12
Early online date16 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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