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JBS partners with DSM to cut cow methane emissions globally with feed additive

05 November 2021

JBS SA, the world's largest meatpacker, on Thursday announced a partnership with health and nutrition company Royal DSM with the goal of reducing methane emissions on its global supply chains.

Reuters reports methane, considered more potent than carbon dioxide, is a natural byproduct of digestion in cows and other ruminants, the majority of which is released into the atmosphere through burping and breathing.

JBS said that it will use a feed additive called Bovaer developed by Netherlands-based DSM to reduce methane emissions on its supply chains as part of a broader initiative to be carbon neutral company by 2040.

Bovaer, which consists of a molecule synthesized from two natural compounds, can help cut beef cow methane emissions by up to 90%, JBS said citing a recent study conducted in Australia.

Brazil, where JBS is headquartered, is home to one the world's largest cattle herds. Here, most of the cattle grazes freely and it is unclear at what point in the production cycle Bovaer would be used as a nutritional supplement. Bovaer received regulatory approval in Brazil in September.

Initially, JBS said it would give the additive to confined cattle. In six months, it plans to test it in a second market, which could be Australia or the United States where it has big operations, the statement said.

A quarter of a teaspoon of the Bovaer additive per day per animal would inhibit the enzyme that activates the production of methane gas in the cow's stomach, JBS said.

According to DSM, the effect is immediate. But if use is discontinued, the cow methane emissions resume at once.

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