It may give them stinky breath, but according to a small UK company dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock industry, feeding cows garlic could cut back on the amount of methane they release into the atmosphere.

Mootral (“moo” plus “neutral”, as in carbon neutral) teamed up with Welsh company Neem Biotech to develop a garlic-based feed additive that reduces cows’ methane emissions by at least 25 percent.

With widespread use, the feed could have a huge effect on lowering greenhouse gas emissions from cows, which are currently responsible for 500 billion liters of methane emitted every day.

The company says that its garlic-based extract is a natural antibiotic that fights bacteria in the stomachs of cows and sheep to dramatically reduce the methane emitted by the animals through flatulence.

The additive is currently being produced on a commercial scale and is undergoing final dosage tests. A sample test will be launched at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Copenhagen Summit this December.

Mootral estimates that its feed can reduce cow emissions enough to generate £30 per cow of carbon credit per year, amounting to a carbon credit market potential of more than £30 billion annually.

The company was shortlisted in the Financial Times Climate Challenge this summer, coming in second place, and is also one of six finalists in the Dutch Lottery’s annual Green Challenge competition, with results expected this week.

Feed cows garlic, reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Researchers find that a garlic feed additive could help reduce methane emissions from cows.