Finnish Scientists Produce a Protein Made ‘From Thin Air’

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    New submitter SysEngineer shares a report from HuffPost: A new protein made from air, water and renewable electricity could revolutionize our food system within the next decade. Developed by the Finnish company Solar Foods in a lab just outside Helsinki, the protein — called Solein — is made using living microbes that are then grown in a fermenter in a process similar to brewing beer. The microbes are fed with carbon dioxide, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen all taken from the air. This fermentation process, which takes place in huge vats, produces a liquid that is removed and dried to give the final product — a yellow flour-like powder with multiple food uses. If the electricity comes totally from renewables — the aim is to use solar and wind — the production process could produce virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions, the company says. It would also require far less land and far less water than traditional agriculture. Solar Foods says just 10 liters (2.1 gallons) of water is needed for every 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of Solein. To produce 1 kilogram of soy requires 2,500 liters (550 gallons) of water, a figure that rises to more than 15,000 liters (3,300 gallons) for 1 kilogram of beef. The scientists say Solein has three applications: it can be used as a protein additive in existing foods; it could work as a way to help ingredients bind together; and it could also be used as an ingredient in plant-based meat alternatives. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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