Food from thin air: Turning CO2 into protein could provide sustainable food source

whey protein
Credit: NaturalHealth365

Bacteria could feed the world. While some bacteria turn CO2 into valuable fuels, other bacteria – called ‘hydrogenotrophs’ – can transform CO2 into proteins suitable for human consumption.

In a sense, this shouldn’t come as a great surprise. The plants we eat, or that we feed to livestock, grow because they take energy from the Sun and use it to convert CO2 into carbohydrates. Strictly speaking, plants didn’t evolve this ability to transform CO2 into food: they gained the skill by incorporating photosynthetic bacteria into their cells.

Solar panels are more effective than photosynthetic organisms at capturing solar energy, and this raises an intriguing possibility. If we can take solar electricity and use it to help bacteria build protein from CO2, we could grow food more efficiently than ever before.

Related article:  Viewpoint: How agroecology can improve life for Africa's smallholder farmers

Solar Foods, a Finnish start-up, is one of several companies aiming to commercialism this non-photosynthetic food. Dr Pasi Vainikka, the company’s CEO, says the approach involves using power from solar panels to break down water molecules and generate hydrogen gas.

Solar Foods then feeds the hydrogen to bacteria growing in a fermenter – for commercial reasons Vainikka prefers not to reveal exactly what species of hydrogenotroph this is. The microbes use this hydrogen as an energy source to turn atmospheric CO2 into high-quality protein that could replace animal proteins in our diet.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend