The Science

Mootral is the result of extensive research and development involving pre-eminent scientists and universities

Scientific Advisory Board

The Scientific Advisory Board are a fully independent group of experts in animal health, feed technology and enteric fermentation who helps us develop Mootral technology.

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Prof. Gerhard Breves

Director of the Department of Physiology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover

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Prof. Jamie Newbold

Academic Director, Scottish Rural College

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Prof. Ermias Kebreab

Deputy Director Agricultural Sustainability Institute, UC Davis

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Prof. Veerle Fievez

Professor of Animal Nutrition, Ghent University

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"Never before have I seen such a remarkable, dose-dependent reduction in methane."

Prof. Gerhard Breves

Prof. Gerhard Breves

Director of the Department of Physiology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover

Gerhard Breves graduated from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, and wrote his doctorate thesis at the respective Department of Physiology. After holding a postdoc-position in Hannover, he moved to the Institute of Animal Nutrition at the Federal Agricultural Research Station in Braunschweig, Germany.

In 1990 he was appointed as a Professor in Veterinary Physiology at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany. Since 1997 he has been the Director of the Department of Physiology at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover.

His major research focus is gastrointestinal physiology in ruminants and monogastric animals with a special emphasis on comparative aspects of rumen and hindgut microbial metabolism, as well as mechanisms and regulation of epithelial transport processes. This includes both, functional and molecular characterisation of nutrient and electrolyte transport systems.

PROF. JAMIE NEWBOLD

ACADEMIC DIRECTOR, SCOTTISH RURAL COLLEGE

Jamie Newbold graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne with a BSc Honours in Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition in 1981. He went on to do his PhD on Microbial Metabolism of lactic acid in the rumen at the Hannah Research Institute in Scotland.

Jamie was Professor of Animal Science at the Institute of Biological and Rural Sciences of Aberyswyth University, Wales and is now Academic Director at Scottish Rural College. Prior to joining Aberystwyth University in 2003, Jamie spent 16 years at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen. Jamie’s research interests are focused on the understanding and manipulation of gut ecosystems to improve animal productivity, while reducing the environmental impact of animal husbandry.

PROF. ERMIAS KEBREAB

DEPUTY DIRECTOR AGRICULTURAL SUSTAINABILITY INSTITUTE, UC DAVIS

Prof. Kebreab holds a B.S. degree from University of Asmara, Eritrea, MS and PhD degrees from the University of Reading, United Kingdom, and holds the Sesnon Endowed Chair in Sustainable Animal Agriculture at the Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis.

He serves as deputy director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute. He was appointed Associate Vice Provost of Academic Programs in Global Affairs in 2016.

Ermias conducts research on reducing the impact of animal agriculture on the environment, particularly greenhouse gas emissions globally. He served on various international and national professional committees including National Academy of Science to update nutrient requirements of dairy cattle and anthropogenic methane emissions.

He is contributing author to the International Panel on Climate Change update on global enteric methane emission estimates. He has received several awards for his work including Nutrition Excellence Award from American Society of Animal Science and Young Scientist Award from Canadian Society of Animal Science. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles, 34 book chapters, and edited 5 books.

Prof. Veerle Fievez

PROFESSOR OF ANIMAL NUTRITION, GHENT UNIVERSITY

Veerle Fievez obtained her PhD in Applied Biological Sciences, Ghent University in 2002 and is currently Professor of Animal Nutrition at Ghent University’s Department of Animal Production.

Although her main expertise is on ruminant nutrition and microbial digestion and its importance in livestock production, her MSc degree was not in Animal Science. Veerle graduated in bioscientific engineering with a focus on environmental technology.

This background results in a specific approach for her research group, where new developments are explored from an engineer’s perspective for potential applications. Furthermore, environmental challenges within livestock production have always been a major focus of the group.

At Mootral, we believe that bringing together scientific leaders from all over the world enables and facilitates research for a healthy planet.
Mootral is the result of over ten years of research and development involving pre-eminent scientists and universities
PAST RESEARCH

Our researchers have proven in-vitro, ex-vivo and in-vivo efficacy in manipulating rumen fermentation and reducing methanogenesis by 20-99%.

Mootral_barn

Research has included the development of patented extraction processes and is addressing the stability of garlic’s natural compounds, which has allowed the raw materials to be commercialised in a number of agricultural applications. Early efficacy trials included the rumen simulating technique (RUSITEC) with sheep and cattle rumen fluid with Prof. Jamie Newbold, the leading Professor of agricultural research at IBERS, UK, showed methane reduction of 35% and 94% respectively.
 
In-vivo trials with cattle and sheep in the UK as performed by IBERS and DEFRA showed that initial iterations of the concept could reduce methane emissions from cattle and other ruminants by 20-27%.

Our technology was part of the large EU funded collaborative research project SMEthane, (which included collaboration with Professor Newbold, Dr David Yanez-Ruiz of CSIC, Professor Veerle Fievez of Ghent University and DEFRA) where methane reduction was shown at up to 94%. This work was published in EU Research Agency and UK Government Agency reports as well as peer reviewed journals.[5][6][7][8]

Since the completion of the Pan-European collaborative research project, our research arm, Neem Biotech, has invested 2 years into further validating stability and efficacy of the product, which is now scalable, affordable and palatable to cows. A key consideration was to ensure ease of market entry as a feed supplement, fit for the feed chain[9].


FURTHER RESEARCH

We constantly undertake extensive further research in order to validate the superior competitive efficacy versus all available and planned compounds, to gain further insights into even more cost effective administration approaches over the lifetime of the animal, to obtain more in-depth understanding of the specific mode of action using pioneering DNA and genomics approaches and to validate the efficacy and practicality under differing local conditions (i.e. Scandinavia, U.S. and LATAM).

Cows Grazing

The validation work included in vitro batch incubations with rumen fluid from animals on varying diets in collaboration with Prof. Veerle Fievez and further iterations of the Rusitec equipment with Prof. Gerhard Breves and Prof. Jamie Newbold.

Batch culture data shows methane reductions of 82% with an increase in volatile fatty acids indicating positive effects on the healthy growth and wellbeing of the animal as a result of supplementation. Independent verification of the batch culture data using the Hohenheim Gas Test shows reductions of methane production of over 65% using various formulations of Mootral indicating the consistency of the approach. Volatile fatty acid increases are congruent with those found earlier in batch culture again indicating positive effects on the healthy growth and wellbeing of the animal as a result of supplementation.

Rusitec data from Hannover and IBERS show reproducibility in reduction of methane production results using rumen fluid from different species of cattle on varying diets. Methane production could be reduced significantly by up to 90%.

In 2017, Mootral was subject to a palatability trial in beef cattle in Italy and Belgium. It was concluded that Mootral was very well accepted by the animals and no impact on feed intake was noted. Furthermore, Mootral was tested in a six-week feeding trial on a commercial dairy farm in the Netherlands under normal operational conditions.

Mootral had positive effects on the milk yield and the composition of the milk. It was also noted that the somatic cell count in milk as an indicator of udder health decreased in the Mootral group. Results from this trial were presented on a poster at the IDF World Dairy Summit in Belfast.


BREAKING NEW SCIENTIFIC GROUND

As our data strongly suggests that the effect of our solution, in contrast to other historically studied alternatives, is not transient, we have decided to validate the on-going changes in the gut microbiome at a genomic level.

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This is specifically to show that the changes in the rumen microbiome that are evidenced are not transient but show a stable transition in the bacterial population from one geared to methane production to one promoting growth. This is in comparison to work done previously, which only considers the before/after genomics but does not consider stability of any changes affected by the dietary intervention.

The aim is to use the data to refine our intervention, and intervention strategy to further improve the reduction in methanogenesis whilst promoting the production of the specific short chain fatty acids that promote animal growth.

We are currently working with three research institutes in Hannover (Germany), Ghent (Belgium) and Aberystwyth (Wales) in independent trials to validate this approach.

5] Hart, K. J., Girdwood, S.E., Taylor, S., Tanez-Ruiz, D.R., Newbold, C.J., 2006. Effect of allicin on fermentation and microbial populations in the rumen simulation fermenter Rusitec. Reprod. Nutri. Dev. 46 (Suppl. 1), S97
[6] Hart, K.J., D.R. Yanez-Ruiz, S.M. Duval, N.R. McEwan, and Newbold, C.J., 2007.Plant extracts to manipulate rumen fermentation.” Animal Feed Science and Technology.
[7] European Commission Research Executive Agency Report, 2013. Technological platform to develop additives to reduce methane emissions from ruminants. Project No. 262270.
[8] UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Project Report, 2010. Ruminant Nutrition Regimes to Reduce Methane & Nitrogen Emissions. DEFRA Project Code: AC0209
[9] Veneman, J.B., Muetzel, S., Hart, K., Faulkner, C.L., Moorby, J.M., Perdok, H.N. and Newbold, C.J., 2015. Does Dietary Mitigation of Enteric Methane Production Affect Rumen Fermentation and Animal Productivity in Dairy Cows?. Plos One DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0140282.

Mootral is a natural feed supplement that significantly reduces methane emissions from the enteric fermentation of ruminants and is the result of over ten years of research and development.

It is based on a proprietary combination of active compounds from garlic and flavonoids derived from citrus.

Our research shows a nearly complete inhibition of emitted methane in laboratory experiments (in vitro) that reaches up to 38% reduction* under real farm conditions (in vivo).

*Dependant on animal breed, age, farm conditions and feed regime

It can be easily integrated into the feed chain to suit the needs of different farming systems.


MODE OF ACTION

Archaea are a specific group of microbes that are responsible for the production of methane inside the rumen. We were able to show that Mootral directly inhibits the activity of the archaea leading to the profound methane reduction. Importantly, Mootral has no adverse effects on the bacteria that are necessary to digest the feed material in the rumen.


RESEARCH APPROACH

We constantly undertake extensive research to further validate the efficacy of Mootral and to gain a deeper understanding of the specific mode of action. For this, we use different experimental methods and state of the art genomics approaches. These studies also guide us in further fine-tune the application of Mootral in vivo to achieve the highest efficacy in reducing methane while maintaining the animal’s welfare and productivity.



"In our experiments we could demonstrate that Mootral resulted in increases in SCFA production rate and changes of the microbial community of archaea.... this has to be assumed as the major mechanism of how methane production is reduced in response to Mootral."

Prof. Gerhard Breves

OUR PEER-REVIEWED & PUBLISHED STUDIES SHOW:

Complete inhibition of methane in a rumen simulation experiment

In a study carried out by the group of Prof. Gerhard Breves at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover (Germany), the rumen simulation technique (Rusitec) was applied to quantify the effect of different doses of Mootral on the production of methane. Monensin, an antibiotic used in livestock with known anti-methanogenic properties, was used as control.

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RESULTS
  • Nearly complete inhibition of methane production in Mootral-treated rumen fluid
  • No negative impact on bacterial synthesis of fatty acids, being vital for the cow’s energy
  • Mootral affects the composition of the methane-producing community of archaea

Publication: Eger M, Graz M, Riede S and Breves G (2018) Application of MootralTM Reduces Methane Production by Altering the Archaea Community in the Rumen Simulation Technique. Front. Microbiol.  9:2094. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02094


 

Significant reduction of methane emissions from dairy cattle on a commercial farm

On a farm in the UK with two breeds, Holstein-Friesian and Jersey, the diet was supplemented with Mootral in the form of concentrate pellets for twelve weeks. Animal welfare and productivity parameters were recorded and methane was measured using hand-held laser devices on a representative subgroup of animals. The trial was performed under the scientific supervision of Prof. Jamie Newbold from SRUC, Scotland.

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RESULTS
  • 30% average reduction of methane emissions
  • 3-5% increase in milk yield when feeding Mootral and lower somatic cells in bulk milk
  • No negative impact on animal health or quality of milk
  • Reduction in the number of flies in the barn in the Mootral period

Publication: Vrancken, H. , Suenkel, M. , Hargreaves, P. , Chew, L. and Towers, E. (2019) Reduction of Enteric Methane Emission in a Commercial Dairy Farm by a Novel Feed Supplement. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 9, 286-296. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2019.93024


 

Increase in the productivity of dairy cattle on a commercial farm

On a commercial farm in the Netherlands, the effect of Mootral on the performance of dairy cattle and the quality of milk was assessed. In a six-week trial, two groups of cows were either fed the normal ration (control) or were supplemented with Mootral in the form of concentrate pellets.

Cattle_Milk_quality_productivity_trial

Results
  • 4% more milk and higher milk persistence in the Mootral group
  • Increase in milk fat content with Mootral
  • No negative impact on organoleptic properties of the milk 

Poster presentation: IDF conference International Dairy Federation, Belfast, Nov 2017


PUBLICATION IN TRANSLATIONAL ANIMAL SCIENCE IN 2019
FIELD TRIAL WITH FEEDLOT CATTLE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS, USA

Mootral Translational Animal Science cover

EFFECT OF MOOTRAL™ - A GARLIC AND CITRUS EXTRACT BASED FEED ADDITIVE - ON ENTERIC METHANE EMISSIONS IN FEEDLOT CATTLE

In the feedlot of the UC Davis university campus, 20 finishing Angus-Hereford cross steers were blocked by initial bodyweight to reduce initial weight variability, then randomly allocated to one of the following treatments: control (no Mootral) or treatment, supplemented with Mootral in the form of alfalfa pellets for twelve weeks. Animal welfare and productivity parameters were recorded and methane was measured using Greenfeed. The trial was performed under the scientific supervision of Prof Ermias Kebreab of UC Davis.

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Mootral UC Davis Trial 1

Mootral UC Davis Trial 2

Results
  • Methane yield was constantly lower in Mootral group vs. control, up to a significant 23% reduction of methane at the end of the trial
  • Full Mootral dose has been successfully reached later in the trial due to low acceptance of type concentrate feed (alfalfa pellets)
  • No negative effects on weight gain and animal health


 

More scientific data on request using the contact form.