Affect seaweed in diet for dairy cows 




First: brown seaweed meal seemed to have beneficial effects on forage digestibility in low-quality forage diets and as such can be important.

There is need to explore applications of genomics and proteomics and improve consistency in texture and functionality of the produced products like milk and cheese.

When alternative controls are required, including immunity enhancement via nutrition, vaccination, pasture management such as co-grazing with cattle, and genetic resistance.

Similarly, the importance of health management is increasing related in part to a lack of effective vaccines for many diseases.

These functional components which may contribute to the health and well being of the animal, also increase the quality of the edible end product (meat, milk, eggs), reduce the environmental impact of animal husbandry or have other specific beneficial features.

Nutrition should address requirements for vitamins and minerals, efficiencies of protein utilization, adjusting energy requirements for nutritional plane, acclimatization, and grazing conditions, feed intake prediction, and management practices for rapid-growth production systems.


The nutritive value of seaweed enriched diets and effects on production performance outside additional value beyond the supply of macro- and micronutrients, also referred to as functional or bioactive components.


Milk production:

 In an old study of Dunlop (1953) the hypothesis was tested whether copper-rich seaweed would have a similar enhancing effect on the milk fat production of

dairy cows as copper sulphate.


Therefore, in several dairy cow herds supplementation of 200 g/d of dried Ascophyllum nodosum supply for a period of three weeks was compared with a single dose of 10 g copper sulphate. In some herds, the inclusion of seaweed meal would appear to stimulate milk fat production even to a greater extent than copper sulphate.

Daily supplementation of 200 g of a mineral-enriched A. nodosum meal (78.74% A. nodosum meal, 20% calcium phosphate, 1.2% magnesium oxide, 0.06% copper oxide) to lactating cows resulted in 6.8% higher milk yield compared with the control treatment that received the same ratio, with 100 g/d of a standard mineral mixture substituted for the seaweed meal (Jensen et al., 1968). Milk iodine content of the seaweed group was 0.6 mg/l compared with 0.1 mg/l in the control group. These results suggests that feeding this mineral-enriched seaweed supplement is able to increase milk yield as well as the mineral concentration of the milk.


Brown seaweeds contain polyphenolic components, such as phlorotannins, catechins, tocopherols, ascorbic acids, and carotenoids with antioxidant properties.

Therefore, their dietary inclusion may improve oxidative stability in animal tissues but at the same time can inhibit the availability of important protein and polysaccharide compounds.

In addition based on a number of publications, brown seaweed species contain a variety of polysaccharides that may contribute to human and animal health.

Several of these polysaccharides may create a better intestinal environment by stimulation of the micro biota population, production of fermentation products,

protection of the gut wall, etc.

A major question is how much seaweed can be used or sold with the large-scale production increase expected due to bio-fuel feed production. Separating of the feed application of bioactive components adds to the feasibility of (large-scale) seaweed production.


Digestibility of seaweed and algae

In general, more knowledge is required to determine the comparative feeding value of seaweed species suitable for cultivation in diets for ruminants, pigs, poultry, and fish. The knowledge of processing seaweed, e.g. cell wall degrading techniques and enzymatic break down of structural carbohydrates and proteins improving energy

and protein digestibility. This would enhance the economic value of seaweed in animal diets considerably. Heat treatment resulted in almost 4 times increase in the total sugar content in L. digitata and L. saccharina broth which allowed the growth of L. plantarum for 24 h after which the cell number started decreasing.

Brief micro wave heating of low moisture brown seaweed resulted in a markedly increase of digestibility of seaweed meal and would hardly effect many of the

bio-properties with the exception of some vitamins.

Nutrition research should address requirements for vitamins and minerals, efficiencies of protein utilization, adjusting energy requirements for nutritional plane, acclimatization, and grazing conditions, feed intake prediction, and management practices for rapid-growth production systems.



The contribution of seaweed to the energy requirements of processes involved may have influenced the digestibility of the main nutrients including protein.

This application requires a joint effort from different groups to enhance and increase  the potential use of seaweed. Seaweed can be used in animal diets in complete form, as a residue of bioprocessing, or as a source of bioactive components and resulting in good health as observed. The amount needed, as functional feed is relative small, delivering the benefits other than the value as result of nutrients/energy intake.

An additional aspect is the extremely high variation in chemical composition within and between seaweed species and the resulting digestibility.

However pre heat treatment at the factories could change all that. Adding a relative small and cheap microwave unit at the end of the drying cycle.

Increase in digestibility will add additional value and the application of seaweed in animal diets.



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