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Symbrosia raises $7 million to reduce livestock methane emissions

By Cole Horton

June 23 (Reuters) - Symbrosia, a U.S.-based startup that aims to reduce livestock methane emissions through its seaweed feed additive, has raised $7 million in new funding, its chief executive told Reuters on Thursday.

The round was led by Danone Manifesto Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of food company Danone, and brings Symbrosia's total funding to around $8.5 million.

Existing investors Pacific6 and HATCH also took part, the company said.

The fund-raise comes amid a global push to cut methane emissions in the fight to tackle climate change. Livestock accounts for 44% of human-made methane emissions, according to the U.N. food agency, making it a natural target for governments and sustainable investors.

Symbrosia said its sole product, a seaweed additive called SeaGraze, led to an 80% drop in methane output from cows and sheep when added to their feed in two commercial trials. The supplement has no impact on animals' meat, milk or wool, according to the company's website.

The four-year-old startup will use the fresh capital to build a new facility in Hawaii and increase seaweed production "by a factor of 1,000," Symbrosia's founder and CEO, Alexia Akbay, said.

"This Series A funding round marks a critical inflection point where we shift our focus to bringing this innovation to market at scale, as quickly as possible," she added.

By ramping up commercial production, Symbrosia also hopes to bring down the cost of SeaGraze, which currently costs farmers between 80 cents and $1.50 per animal each day. Large dairy farms in the United States have over 10,000 cows, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Reporting by Cole Horton in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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