Even partial replacement of meat with microbial protein will cut deforestation in half

Researchers from Germany and Sweden modeled various scenarios for the development of the food industry and their

impact on the climate.The scientists built a computer simulation model that takes into account future population growth, food demand, food patterns, and land use and agricultural dynamics.

The researchers showed that in a conservativeforecast (while maintaining current consumption), the amount of meat eaten will increase annually. At the same time, more and more forests and other "green" areas will be destroyed to create pastures and arable land.

Scientists note that the food systemis responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, with ruminant meat production the largest single source. As an alternative solution, scientists propose using the existing microbial protein biotechnology. It is a nutritious and protein-rich biomass with a meaty texture that is produced by microorganisms.

“We found that if by 2050 we replace20% of artificial ruminant meat per capita, annual deforestation and carbon dioxide emissions from land use change will be halved compared to the baseline,” says Florian Humpeneder, co-author of the study.

The researchers also say that the reductionlivestock not only reduces the pressure on the land, but also reduces the emissions of methane from the gastrointestinal tract of animals and nitrous oxide produced during the use of fertilizers.

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