Asparagopsis taxiformis

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Asparagopsis taxiformis.jpg
Asparagopsis taxiformis in Mayotte.
Scientific classification edit
Domain: Eukaryota
(unranked): Archaeplastida
Division: Rhodophyta
Class: Florideophyceae
Order: Bonnemaisoniales
Family: Bonnemaisoniaceae
Genus: Asparagopsis
A. taxiformis
Binomial name
Asparagopsis taxiformis

Asparagopsis sanfordiana

Asparagopsis taxiformis, (limu kohu) formerly A. sanfordiana,[1] is a species of red alga, with cosmopolitan distribution in tropical to warm temperate waters.[2]


Like many red algae, A. taxiformis has a haplodiplophasic lifecycle, with each phase morphologically distinct. The species' haploid stage was initially described as Falkenbergia hillebrandii (Bornet) Falkenberg 1901 because it was thought to be a separate species.

Culinary uses[edit]

Ahi limu poke.

Asparagopsis is one of the most popular types of limu.[3] in the cuisine of Hawaii, it is principally a condiment.[4] It is known as Limu kohu in the Hawaiian language meaning "pleasing seaweed".[5] Limu kohu is a traditional ingredient in poke.

The essential oil of limu kohu is 80% bromoform (tri-bromo-methane)[6] by weight, and includes many other bromine- and iodine-containing organic compounds.[4]

Methane emissions reduction in cattle[edit]

In 2014, researchers at CSIRO and James Cook University demonstrated that feeding ruminants a diet consisting of 1-2% percent red seaweed reduced their methane emissions by over 90 percent.[7] Of 20 types of seaweed tested, A. taxiformis showed the most promise, with nearly 99 percent effectiveness.[8] The findings spurred interest from leading academic and trade organizations to further investigate its effects on ruminant animal production.[9] Some findings of research on these effects have been that the dichloromethane extract (found in A. taxiformis) was the most potent bioactive, reducing methane production by 79%. Other bioactives found were bromoform, dibromochloromethane, bromochloroacetic acid and dibromoacetic acid.[10]

Supply from wild harvest is not expected to be adequate to support broad adoption. A. taxiformis has yet to be commercially farmed at scale. A research/development initiative called Greener Grazing is seeking to close the life cycle of A. taxiformis and demonstrate ocean based grow-out.[11] A startup out of KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Volta Greentech and Symbrosia from Yale University, are both working to grow A. taxiformis. Symbrosia is looking to integrate the cultivation with Whiteleg shrimp on land, using a patent-pending technology.[12] Sea-based cultivation has been proposed as a path to scale production and "drive the cost down so it can be used by beef and dairy farmers around the world".[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ní Chualáin, F.; Maggs, C.A.; Saunders, G.W. & Guiry, M.D. (2004). "The invasive genus Asparagopsis (Bonnemaisoniaceae, Rhodophyta): molecular systematics, morphology, and ecophysiology of Falkenbergia isolates". Journal of Phycology. 40 (6): 1112–1126. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2004.03135.x.
  2. ^ ":: Algaebase". Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  3. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Hoyt Elbert (2003). "lookup of limu kohu". in Hawaiian Dictionary. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  4. ^ a b B. Jay Burreson; et al. (1976). "Volatile halogen compounds in the alga Asparagopsis taxiformis (Rhodophyta)". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 24 (4): 856–861. doi:10.1021/jf60206a040.
  5. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Hoyt Elbert (2003). "lookup of kohu". in Hawaiian Dictionary. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  6. ^ Burreson, B. Jay; Moore, Richard E.; Roller, Peter P. (1976). "Volatile halogen compounds in the alga Asparagopsis taxiformis (Rhodophyta)". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 24 (4): 856. doi:10.1021/jf60206a040.
  7. ^ Machado, Lorenna; Magnusson, Marie; Paul, Nicholas A.; de Nys, Rocky; Tomkins, Nigel (2014-01-22). "Effects of Marine and Freshwater Macroalgae on In Vitro Total Gas and Methane Production". PLoS ONE. 9 (1): e85289. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085289. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3898960. PMID 24465524.
  8. ^ "Seaweed could hold the key to cutting methane emissions from cow burps - CSIROscope". CSIROscope. 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  9. ^ "Can Seaweed Cut Methane Emissions on Dairy Farms?". UC Davis. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  10. ^ Identification of bioactives from the red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis that promote antimethanogenic activity in vitro
  11. ^ "Gassy cows are bad for the planet; could seaweed diet help?". AP News. Retrieved 2018-10-01.
  12. ^ "Symbrosia". Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  13. ^ Boys, Callan (15 February 2020). "The fish farmer growing seaweed to feed cows and save the planet". Good Food. Retrieved 2 April 2020.

External links[edit]

Guiry, M.D.; Guiry, G.M. (2008). "'Asparagopsis taxiformis'". AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.