Home Science Turning coal into protein will help solve the world’s food problem


Turning coal into protein will help solve the world’s food problem

China imports about 80% of the protein it consumes in any available form, including soy. It is therefore not surprising that it was the Chinese Academy of Sciences that proposed a way to produce proteins from fossilized raw materials, namely coal. The technology is not new, but Chinese scientists have refined it to the level of practical application on an industrial scale.

Most of the world’s crops are fed to livestock, whose meat is the main source of protein for people in developed countries. However, the efficiency of this process leaves much to be desired: today, 29% of developed land or 40% of the Earth’s inhabited area is devoted to pastures or fields. Simply increasing livestock numbers will not solve the protein shortage because there is nowhere to keep them.

At the same time, according to various forecasts, mankind will have enough coal reserves for 200 years and more, so it makes sense to turn some of it into food. For this purpose, coal is converted into methane, and this methane is fed to the yeast Pichia Pastoris, the product of which is a single-celled protein. This protein is saturated with various useful and nutritious substances and is quite suitable for use as a feed additive for growing livestock.

You may also like