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Gradually replacing 20 percent of global beef and lamb consumption with meat-textured proteins grown in stainless steel vats could reduce agriculture-related CO emissions2 emissions and deforestation double by 2050, researchers said on Wednesday.

Compared with the current population growth forecast and demand for foodchanging half red meat consumption of so-called microbial proteins will reduce the loss of trees and CO2 pollution is more than 80 percent, they reported in the journal Nature.

“With relatively small changes in ruminant meat consumption, greenhouse gas emissions from tropical deforestation can be significantly reduced, “lead author Florian Hampenoder, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), told AFP.

“This is an important contribution to achieving the climate goals of the Paris Agreement with additional benefits for other sustainability goals.”

Trio of iconic UN climate science August reports make it clear that the cornerstone of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming “Much lower” than two degrees – is in serious danger.

The world food system accounts for about a third of all carbon pollution, and beef production is the main culprit inside agricultural sectoraccording to the UN Advisory Group on Climate Science.

Livestock is a double threat.

It not only destroys CO2-absorption of tropical forests to free up space for grazing and fodder crops of cattle. In addition, animal burping is a major source of methane, 30 times more efficient as a greenhouse gas than CO2 for a 100-year term.

Microbial based meat alternatives on supermarket shelves for decades.

But as the world struggles for climate solutions, these and other “new products” could grow into a major industry in decades, according to market forecasts.

Joint benefits

Artificial meat obtained by culturing cells based on microbes or fungi is exposed to a fermentation processsimilar to that for wine or beer.

Cells feed on glucose – for example, from sugar cane or beets – to produce protein, which means that some production of sown land is required for production.

But much less than for red meat, according to a study.

Assuming that current agricultural methods and patterns of meat consumption persist for the next 30 years, the world’s pasture area should increase by almost one million square kilometers (390,000 square miles).

If, however, 20 percent of this meat is replaced by microbial protein, the grazing area is reduced even below the current level.

“The same protein requires about 1.2 million square kilometers less farmland,” said senior author Alexander Pop, also of PIK.

The benefits of protein derived from microbes and fungi go beyond climate and environmental impact, said Hanna Tuomista, a researcher at the University of Helsinki who was not involved in the study.

“Mycoprotein is the perfect meat substitute because it is rich in protein and contains everything essential amino acids“, – she said in a comment also in Nature.

Agricultural water use along with emissions is another greenhouse gasnitrous oxide will also be reduced.

“The effectiveness of biotech alternatives opens up huge potential in the future for a more sustainable food supply,” said Tilly Collins, deputy director of the Imperial Policy Center at Imperial College London.

“Governments and food companies need to coordinate to develop appropriate standards and thus ensure the future of public trust,” she told the London Science Media Center. “Our nuggets may never be the same again.”

However, it remains uncertain whether enough meat lovers will give up their burgers and steaks for the sake of an alternative that shares the texture of the meat more than the taste.

According to Humpenoder, only one in six study co-authors tasted a microbial-based meat substitute.

“He likes it,” he said.

Mushroom-based meat alternatives can help save the Earth’s forests

Additional information:
Florian Humpeneder, Predicted Environmental Benefits of Replacing Beef with Microbial Protein, Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-022-04629-w.

© 2022 AFP

Citation: Microbial-based artificial beef can save forests, reduce CO2 emissions (2022, May 7) obtained May 7, 2022 from forests-slash. html

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