Plant proteins could help reduce deforestation

Replace approximately 20% of consumption of meat of animal origin of plant or microbial proteins obtained by fermentation with sugar would cut deforestation and associated carbon dioxide emissions by half by 2050, explained scientists from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Currently, food is already being developed with plant protein sources, such as soy, lentils or imitation meat or vegetables such as tofu and soy burgers. Likewise, there are microbial proteins developed from nutrient-rich protein-rich biomass with a texture similar to meat produced by fermentation of fungi in bioreactors.

“The cultured meat “it has attracted a lot of public attention, however, it is still in the early stages of development and there are many unknowns, especially regarding the composition and cost of the growing media,” said Florian Humpenöder of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and the first author of the study published in the journal Nature.

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proteins of plant origin
Foods with plant protein sources, such as soy and lentils, or imitation meat or vegetables such as tofu and soy hamburgers are currently being developed.

Advantages of replacing animal proteins with vegetable proteins

A team of German scientists conducted research to highlight the benefits of the switch animal proteins microbial cells that use sugar as a raw material. The results found that replacing 20% ​​of beef consumption with microbial protein worldwide would reduce annual deforestation and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by up to 56% by 2050.

One of the advantages of this process fermentation is that it decouples the production of edible microbial proteins from local biophysical conditions, which could be particularly relevant with climate change, the expert says. “However, land under crops is still needed to grow sugar and feed microbes,” warns the scientist.

Although 20% of the replacement in meat consumption produces environmental benefits, scientists note that increasing the replacement level beyond this point would not result in a linear increase in land-use savings effects. The authors predict that this could be a consequence of demanding changes in the structure of agricultural production.

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