Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra

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Image result for sustainable protein sources

These Foods are Key To feeding 9 Billion People


Where Will We Get Our Food


There are 7.5 billion people living on the earth and counting. Dutch researchers are working to feed the growing population all sustainably and without any meat.

Wageningen is a town in the Netherlands; it is not advertised on postcards or is notably beautiful, in fact it is quite ordinary. But it is where the university is and is ranked as the world’s top agricultural research hub. Much of the institution focuses on how to feed humanity in the coming decades, and the work is badly needed. The Earth, now home to about 7.5 billion people, may have nearly 2 billion more.

Wageningen study mainly about protein and where we will be able to get it from other than from meat. 1 pound of animal protein uses about 7.5 pounds of plant proteins, which are consumed by the animal as it grows. About 80 percent of agricultural land is already used for grain that’s fed to livestock. The numbers are simple, If we don’t change the way we eat, and quickly, there won’t be enough protein for our expanding population.

Other groups are studying this idea as well, from raising more beans, less animals to eating insects. Many insects are eaten around the world, of course we would have to stop using pesticides etc. so the insects would not be contaminated. For these novel foods, especially insects, to be introduced into the mainstream, they must overcome challenges like the “yuck factor  There are other ideas being popped up as well such as the potential hazards of farming insects fed on food waste, a potentially cost-effective solution, or the idea of encouraging more insects.

Then there are algae, Algae can be broadly divided into microalgae and macroalgae (seaweed). Algae reproduce rapidly and have a higher productivity compared to conventional crops. They can be cultivated in bioreactors, or in sea- and recycled water, requiring less land. Algae can accumulate minerals like calcium, iron and copper at much higher levels than land-grown foods. Some varieties of seaweed are relatively high in protein, low in fat, and provide vitamins and minerals, and some essential amino acids. They are also one of the few plant sources of vitamin B12 – important for vegetarians and vegans – with a single portion of Ulva lectica (sea lettuce) providing the recommended intake for adults. Seaweeds are staple foods in Japan and Korea. They can easily be added to sushi bowls, pasta dishes, smoothies, and salads, while microalgae are commonly sold as food supplements.

Duckweeds are small aquatic plants used as feed for domestic animals. They are also mixed into soups and salads in some parts of the world, particularly in Asia. Dried duckweed is a promising, fast-growing, high quality protein source (amino acid composition similar to meat), with up to 40% protein content.

Upcoming improved plant protein sources

Plant protein sources that are eaten widely include soy, wheat, vegetables, and potatoes. Rapeseed (canola) oil, popularly used in cooking, leaves behind a protein-rich ingredient when extracted from the seed. This rapeseed meal has been used in animal feed for a long time, but its use in human food has been limited due to its sensory qualities, its tastes bad, and potential contaminants. processing methods are in rapid development to boost the safety, nutritional and sensory potential of rapeseed protein.

Researchers of the EU-funded Protein2Food project are improving the protein quality and quantity of seed crops (amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa) and legumes (lupin, chickpeas, faba beans, and lentils) underused in Europe. Developing varieties suited to European climate and soils, improving crop management, and technological innovation, will lead to new plant-based and protein-rich foods, such as meat alternatives, bakery products, pasta, breakfast cereals, and snacks.

Crossing the barriers

Plant protein sources tend to lack certain essential amino acids needed by our bodies. Hence it is especially important that vegetarians and vegans eat a variety of plant proteins (fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes). Algae contains a rich amino acid composition, comparable to soybeans or eggs, however it’s digestibility and bioavailability it not yet fully understood and more research needs to be done.

Substituting meat with other protein sources has the potential to improve the sustainability of the food supply in Europe and around the world. The most difficult task  to bring change will be bringing about a change in cultural attitudes. How can we encourage people to be adventurous in their food choices, and motivate change in meat-eating habits without people turning up their noses?

Maybe make the new protein choices look like meat and the same texture and of course the most important the taste needs to be equal to meat. Other than that people wont make the change, and if they do it will take a whole generation to make the change. After that eating fake meat will be just like eating meat because the future kids wont know the difference and eating these protein substitutes will be the norm.




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