Combining solar power and microbes could produce 10 times more protein than crops such as soya beans, according to a new study. The system would also have very little impact on the environment, the researchers said, in stark contrast to livestock farming which results in huge amounts of climate-heating gases as well as water pollution. The concept uses electricity from solar panels and carbon dioxide from the air to create fuel for microbes, which are grown in bioreactor vats and then processed into dry protein powders. The process makes highly efficient use of land, water and fertiliser and could be deployed anywhere, not just in countries with strong sunshine or fertile soils, the scientists said. Food security is a “critical issue” for humanity in coming decades, they said, with the global population growing, biofuels competing for land with crops, and about 800 million people already undernourished today. Furthermore, tackling the climate crisis will be near impossible without slashing emissions from animal and dairy food production . Microbes are already used to make many common foods, such as bread, yoghurt, beer and Quorn. But other researchers said converting consumers to eating microbial protein might be difficult and that such foods […]

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