The challenge

With an expected growth of the world population and ever-increasing climatic threads, we have to tackle two issues: Increasing food sovereignty and paving the transition towards healthy and sustainable food production with a significant reduction in food waste, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector and even re-establishing the function of organic soils as being a sink for carbon.

The solution

Plant protein and in particular the most abundant one, Rubisco, has been since long known as being a suitable substitute for livestock-derived protein sources in human consumption. Further, a variety of studies highlighted its promising structure in food applications. But deriving plant protein from traditional agricultural land would compromise food sovereignty in many countries. One solution is the re-establishment of permanent grasslands on marginal lands, for instance, organic wet soils with poor drainage. Farming grass for protein extraction in biorefinery processes on wet organic soils can provide the base for a sink function of atmospheric greenhouse gases, the accumulation of stable soil organic carbon, and an economic output for farmers by the creation of value-added sidestreams (e.g. protein extraction).



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Claudia Windeck