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Future Foods Made From Kelp, Maggots, And Mycroprotein May Fight Malnutrition

Discussion in 'Dietetics' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, May 30, 2021.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

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    Conventional approaches to improving food production, according to University of Cambridge researchers, cannot ensure our future global food supply. To mitigate susceptibility to environmental changes, pests, and diseases, they propose that state-of-the-art, controlled-environment technologies processing novel foods be introduced into the food system. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Food today.

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    According to the researchers, spirulina, chlorella, larvae of insects such as the house fly, mycoprotein (protein obtained from fungi), and macro-algae such as sugar kelp may be used to eliminate global malnutrition. These foods have also piqued curiosity as nutrient-dense, environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional plant- and animal-based foods.

    Future Foods

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    The processing of these "future foods" has the potential to alter the way food systems work. They can be grown in large quantities in flexible, portable systems that are ideal for urban and rural areas, such as those on remote islands. Food could be grown locally and consistently by populations using a method known as 'polycentric food networks,' eliminating dependence on global supply chains.

    Research
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    The researchers looked at about 500 existing scientific articles on various potential food production processes to come to their conclusions. The most promising, such as microalgae photo-bioreactors (devices that use light to cultivate microorganisms) and insect breeding greenhouses, farms in closed, regulated habitats, reduce exposure to the natural world's hazards.

    "Foods like sugar kelp, bees, mealworm, and single-celled algae like chlorella have the ability to have nutritious, danger-resilient diets that can counter malnutrition around the world," said Dr. Asaf Tzachor, the report's first author and a researcher at the University of Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER).

    He said, " "The current food supply is in jeopardy. It's vulnerable to a slew of hazards, including storms and frosts, droughts and dry spells, viruses, and pests, none of which can be mitigated by modest productivity gains. To ensure that our food supply is secure in the future, we must incorporate entirely modern agricultural methods into the existing scheme."

    Drawbacks of Traditional Productions

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    According to the study, relying on food provided by traditional farming and supply processes is risky because they are vulnerable to a range of factors outside human control. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed this vulnerability: travel bans enforced by governments interrupted food processing and supply chains worldwide.

    Wildfires and droughts in North America, outbreaks of African swine fever affecting pigs in Asia and Europe, and swarms of desert locust in East Africa are recent environmental threats to food systems. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these dangers.

    "Technological advancements open up many possibilities for alternative food supply systems that are more risk-resilient and can efficiently supply sustainable nutrition to billions of people," said Catherine Richards, a doctoral researcher at the Centre for the Study Existential Risk and the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

    She said, " "The pandemic of the coronavirus is but one indication of the growing challenges to our globalized food environment. Diversifying our diet with these potential foods would be critical to ensuring everyone's food security."

    Battling Malnutrition

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    Malnutrition is perhaps the longest-running humanitarian crisis: two billion people are food insecure, with over 690 million undernourished and 340 million children suffering from micronutrient deficiencies.

    The researchers believe that rather than consuming insects whole, people can solve their apprehensions by using them as additives in other foods: pizza, tacos, and energy bars, for example, can all incorporate ground insect larvae and refined micro-and macroalgae.

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