A meta-analysis of effects of 3-nitrooxypropanol on methane production, yield, and intensity in dairy cattle

Ermias Kebreab*, André Bannink, Eleanor May Pressman, Nicola Walker, Alexios Karagiannis, Sanne van Gastelen, Jan Dijkstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Ruminants, particularly dairy and beef cattle, contribute to climate change through mostly enteric methane emissions. Several mitigating options have been proposed, including the feed additive 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP). The objectives of this study were to explain the variability in the mitigating effect of 3-NOP and to investigate the interaction between diet composition and 3-NOP dose, using meta-analytical approaches. Data from 13 articles (14 experiments) met the selection criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis, and 48 treatment means were used for the analysis. Mean differences were calculated as 3-NOP treatment mean minus control treatment mean and then expressed as a percentage of the control mean. Three types of models were developed: (1) one including 3-NOP dose, overall mean, and individual covariate; (2) a combination of neutral detergent fiber (NDF), 3-NOP dose, and overall mean; and (3) one selected model from all combinations of up to 5 covariates, which were compared using a leave-one-out cross validation method. Models including only 3-NOP dose resulted in a significant reduction of 32.7%, 30.9%, and 32.6% for CH4 production (g/d), yield (g/kg dry matter intake), and intensity (g/kg energy-corrected milk), respectively, at an average 3-NOP dose of 70.5 mg/kg dry matter (DM). The greater the NDF content in the diet, the lower the reduction efficiency for a given 3-NOP dose. For 10 g/kg DM increase in NDF content from its mean (329 g of NDF/kg of DM) the 3-NOP effect on CH4 production was impaired by 0.633%, the 3-NOP effect on CH4 yield by 0.647%, and the 3-NOP effect on CH4 intensity by 0.723%. The analysis based on leave-one-out cross validation showed an increase in NDF and crude fat content reduces efficacy of 3-NOP and an increase in 3-NOP dose increases efficacy. A 1% (10 g/kg) DM decrease in dietary NDF content from its mean may increase the efficacy of 3-NOP in reducing CH4 production by 0.915%. A 1% (10 g/kg DM) decrease in dietary crude fat content from its mean enhances the efficacy of 3-NOP on CH4 production by 3.080% at a given dose and NDF level. For CH4 yield, next to 3-NOP dose, dietary NDF content and dietary crude fat content were included in the selected model, but also dietary starch content with an opposite direction to NDF and crude fat. The effect of 3-NOP dose on CH4 intensity was similar to its effect on CH4 production, whereas the effect of dietary NDF content was slightly lower. Expanding the previously published models with the newly available data published from trials since then improved model performance, hence demonstrating the value of regularly updating meta-analyses if a wider range of data becomes available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-936
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
Early online date7 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • 3-nitrooxypropanol
  • dairy
  • meta-analysis
  • methane


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