How Biotech Can Help Feed the Planet


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By Jim Flatt

It’s going to be a big global challenge to feed our growing population without destroying the environment.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that worldwide food supply must increase by 70 percent by 2050. We don’t just need calories; we need nutritious calories that reduce the risk of disease. Chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes impair quality of life and burden the global healthcare system.

This 70 percent goal must be achieved in the face of several long-term constraints. First, an already short supply of cultivatable land will become more limited as the population grows and climate change renders more land unfarmable over the next 35 years. That’s the forecast of the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition.

Second, demand for animal protein, which typically rises as countries develop, will further strain our primary food sources. The production of 1 kilogram of animal protein requires 10 kilograms of vegetable or microbial protein and 15,000 liters of water, according to “The Atlas of Food: Who Eats What, Where and Why.” This challenge faces us not just for farm animals. A 30-year flattened wild fish harvest is driving demand for farmed —> Read More Here


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