Sustainable Food Systems



A novel seaweed feed supplement that solves climate change by reducing livestock methane emissions by over 90 percent

Team Lead

Alexia Akbay

Solution Pitch

The Problem

During a cow’s digestive process, bacteria in their gut decomposes food and produces methane as a by-product. Through this process, called enteric fermentation, cows and other livestock create 30 percent of man-made methane emissions, contributing as much to global warming as the entire European Union.

The Solution

Symbrosia’s solution is to add a small amount of a single species of seaweed to livestock feed to create a large reduction in methane emissions. Symbrosia’s novel livestock feed supplement is made from a species of red seaweed called Asparagopsis taxiformis (A. taxiformis). Research from The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Penn State, and UC Davis have shown that replacing just 0.4 percent of a cow’s feed with A. taxiformis reduces the amount of methane the cow produces by over 90 percent. On a molecular level, A. taxiformis inhibits hydrogen and carbon dioxide from combining to form methane in a cow’s stomach. 

Using an innovative, on-land aquaculture production system, Symbrosia grows A. taxiformis at scale and powederizes it to create the sustainable feed product SVD. The cows, sheep, and goats that consume it don’t even notice that they are helping save the planet.

Market Opportunity

Despite the proliferation of plant-based meat products, Americans ate more meat in 2018 than ever before. Worldwide, as hundreds of millions of people rise out of poverty, they are consuming more meat. In the United States alone, there are over 1.3 million livestock farms, and at least 1.3 billion people worldwide depend on livestock for their livelihoods. Governments—including the EU, multiple US States, and New Zealand—are pursuing taxes on agricultural methane emissions to combat climate change. However, livestock farmers, who are already facing price drops caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, currently have no way to significantly lower their emissions. The annual market share for Symbrosia’s sustainable supplement in the US alone is $10 billion at target pricing per kilogram of material.

Organization Highlights

  • First commercial trial with Asparagopsis taxiformis algae on ruminants

  • NSF SBIR Phase I awardee

  • 50 to Watch company by the CleanTech Group

Partnership Goals

Symbrosia currently seeks: 

  • Advisory for biotech commercial demonstration facility commissioning and readiness level

  • Medium-sized beef and dairy producers with interest in increased operational sustainability (US or LATAM)

  • Livestock industry product development partnerships (Marketing and R&D)


Symbrosia’s novel livestock feed supplement has already reduced 4 ton CO2-eq emitted by livestock to date

Solver Team

Organization Type:

Kailua Kona, Hawaii, United States


Working in:
United States



Solution Team:

  • Alexia Akbay CEO, Symbrosia Inc

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