Making food is now as easy as turning on switch!
While we are nowhere close to producing any desired food using replicators like in Star Trek, a recent study has proven that food can be created out of thin air. Finnish scientists have successfully used carbon dioxide and electricity to make single-cell proteins. Calling it "food" could be mildly exaggerating but experts say this could reduce world malnutrition. Know more!
A joint study by LUT and VTT of Finland
Researchers at the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and Finland's VTT Technical Research Centre conducted the joint study to produce food using carbon dioxide and electricity. It is part of the much bigger Neo-Carbon Energy research project jointly carried out by LUT and VTT. The Academy of Finland funds the current 'Food from Electricity' study that would run for four years.
Produced food's nutrition profile matches with basic food
The Finnish research team used just three ingredients - water, carbon dioxide, and microbes- inside a small electric bioreactor for the study. They supplied electricity to the bioreactor to produce a powder-like food substance. The powder contains 50% protein, 25% carbohydrates, and fat and nucleic acid. Researchers say the texture of the "food" could be changed by altering the microbes used.
LUT Professor Jero Ahola's statement
Ahola, who was part of the study, stated, "Compared to traditional agriculture, the production method currently under development does not require a location with the conditions for agriculture, such as the right temperature, humidity or a certain soil type."
Paving a path toward solving world hunger, eliminating agricultural issues
Using electrolysis to produce sustainable food systems is just one method scientists are applying to solve global famine. The new food-producing technology study could be a solution to economically feed the world's hungry populations without massive agricultural operations, which contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions. The United Nations estimates that globally, 795 million people (one in every nine) suffer from chronic undernourishment.
A much environment friendly method to produce food
Jero Ahola stated: "The method requires no pest-control substances. Only the required amount of fertilizer-like nutrients is used in the closed process. This allows us to avoid any environmental impacts, such as runoffs into water systems or the formation of powerful greenhouse gases."
System not big enough for wider use
The Finnish research team is also developing a protein that could be used to feed animals, apart from food for humans. However, many say this method of food making is not practical as the system takes two weeks to produce one gram of powder. Scientists say it would take nearly a decade before a bigger system for wider usage could be developed.