About this Research Topic
As the demand of ruminant (beef and dairy) products by the rapidly growing population is increasing, the need for a multidisciplinary approach towards sustainable animal production is needed. This is to improve the ruminants’ nutrient utilization, health and welfare, as well as to mitigate their carbon footprint. The main sources of anthropogenic methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (NO2) are following: Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) (24%), the industry (21%) and transport (14%). The production of greenhouse gases directly associated with livestock farming consists of two main components: enteric fermentation and manure management, which together represent 42% of the emissions within the AFOLU.
Enteric CH4 production from ruminants, in addition to contributing to greenhouse gas production, represents a significant loss of dietary energy. Therefore, there has been a great interest in developing various mitigation strategies for enteric CH4 such as dietary manipulation, use of local feed resources (i.e. plant extracts that contain polyphenols or tannins), feed additives, and strategic supplementation.
Extensive livestock production plays a fundamental role in the use of permanent grasslands that have no other alternative use, contributing to the maintenance of production systems and the storage and conservation of carbon in the grassland and soil. In intensive livestock production system, the excess of N or the imbalance of crude protein and rumen degradable protein in the diet increase N inefficiency. The excess of N excreted to the environment is up to 60% of the N intake, can potentially transform into NO2, that has 298 times of global warming potential of CO2. We need diets formulated according to the requirements of the animals, that also maximizes the N use in the diets and minimize their excretion to the environment (i.e. the addition of protected amino acids that improve the N utilization, or the correct rumen degradable protein/energy balance).
The aim of this Research Topic is to present current research on minimizing the animals’ GHG emissions and/or reducing its carbon footprint, through an increase in the efficiency of the production process resulting from the use of multiple feeding and nutritional strategies. We would like to include manuscripts related to sustainable diet alternatives used in animals in order to mitigate their environmental impact by minimizing the GHG emissions. Articles on various natural alternatives, such as the incorporation of tree leaves, plant extracts, and feed additives in diet, are particularly welcome, given their positive impact on production of CH4, CO2 and NO2.
Keywords: livestock greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable animal production, nutrient utilization, livestock carbon footprint, feeding and nutritional strategies
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