The Twin Tyrannies of Food Production: Arable Land & Freshwater

“While the pandemic has shown us that the global food system is very resilient, some weaknesses have been highlighted.

In particular, some countries temporarily banning food exports showed that, in a crisis, countries will look after themselves first. It clearly demonstrated that countries that have arable land and freshwater have food, those that don’t are at the mercy of those that do. So, what about countries like the UAE and Singapore which import 85-90% of their food because they’re subject to these twin tyrannies of arable land and freshwater?

A technology able to address both tyrannies simultaneously is the algal bioeconomy. That’s firstly because many algae can be grown in seawater, and secondly that they can be grown on non-arable land in ponds or bioreactors. Both characteristics also make algae a resilient crop in the face of climate change.

There are over 300,000 known species of algae, the total number could be in the millions, and only 10 are grown commercially. They’ve evolved across numerous ecological niches and produce an enormous amount of valuable bioproducts. Algae can also be hugely productive, reaching an annual protein yield of 4-15 tonnes per hectare, far more than the 0.6 to 1.2 tonnes per hectare for soybeans, pulses and legumes. Add in that most of the high-value products extracted from higher plants are naturally produced by algae, or they could be genetically engineered to do so, and their advantages multiply.”

  • Unilever recently partnered with biotech startup Algenuity to manufacture products for Unilever’s plant-based portfolio.
  • Back of the Yards Algae Sciences new algae-based heme, the same ingredient that makes the Impossible Burger ‘bleed’.
  • Iwi’s marine algae protein which, according to the company, has more total essential amino acids than whey or egg.
  • Australia’s Provectus, who take a novel approach by varying the wavelength of light to manipulate their algae to produce specific high value products.

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Published by RenSun Lee

Kia ora! Sustainability is at the core of my soul ever since I was a kid. I always strive to finish the food on my plate and live as a minimalist. I love to cut down on waste in order to live sustainably and harmoniously with our planet. This brings me to my passion as a Food Scientist to integrate new technologies into innovative and creative solutions to meet customer demands and market trends and to optimize products and processes for quality, savings and sustainability. To these goals, I have published a Journal on my work on sustainable packaging and patented a new Antimicrobial wash. Nothing is more satisfying than working hard and smart at the workplace and playing hard outside of working hours. I enjoy rejuvenating myself through spending quality time with my two adorable kids and my awesome soul mate and getting close to nature when possible, be it gardening, tramping or going to the beach. I also love to learn about our magnificent universe and how sustainability is working in the grand scheme of things. I strongly believe that Work, Life & Balance is the key to a healthy state of mind, both physically and mentally. I look forward to making a positive difference wherever and whenever I can. Through this Blog, I hope to catalog recent Food Trends and Food Technologies that I come across so that anyone who is interested can have access to it (articles and resources). Please use these resources at your discretion. On top of that, I would also like to share related news and technologies of the future that would help mankind advance towards a Type 1 Civilization. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share and contribute to the “Resources“. I would like to thank you in advance for dropping by. I sincerely hope that you can benefit from the recent Food Trends and Food Technologies I catalogued. Kind regards | Ngā mihi RenSun Lee

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