What We Are Dealing With:
Understandably, the world has been busy with finding a solution to combat the current COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, let’s not set aside the important topic of creating sustainable food systems. The World Resources Report “Creating a sustainable food future” recommends for healthy food intake to start with creating sustainable food supply.
Food production (especially beef production) in the United States and many other countries has taxed the world’s natural resources. It has contributed to significant greenhouse gas emission. This poses a threat to the global climate. Many countries have already committed themselves to reduce emissions and eliminate processes that create carbon dioxide (CO2) and thereby pose a burden to life on earth.
To preserve the variety of life for our generation and those to come, some management practices have been developed (e.g., to store carbon, to sequester carbon, to create carbon pools). Others practices focused on innovative food production using biosystems that reduce CO2 instead of producing it.
The Solution: Creating Nutrient Dense Foods to Strengthen Food Supplies.
According to the World Resources Report, if food consumption trends continue as projected, the world will need to increase food production by more than 50 percent to feed nearly 10 billion people adequately in 2050. To protect natural ecosystems critical to biodiversity and climate change mitigation, the additional food must be produced with no net expansion in the area of agricultural land. Without action, cropland and pastureland are projected to increase by nearly 600 million hectares by 2050.
An Example: Euglena Gracilis, the New Superfood
Euglena gracilis, a high-purity microscopic organism are found in freshwater and salt water, often abundant in quiet inland waters where they may bloom in numbers sufficient to color the surface of ponds and ditches green or red.
One Euglena gracilis producer in Germany, Algenium, is serving as a food supplier to meet this global challenge. Algenium aims to streamline food production by eliminating the need for arable land and wasteful intermediary steps in cultivation, harvesting, storage, and transportation, turning instead to a single‐celled photosynthetic organism that is engineered to produce and secrete nutrients. These nutrients include protein and amino acids. In 2019 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommended Euglena gracilis for the qualified presumption of safety (QPS) list. Toxicology studies show that Euglena gracilis can be supplied as a food or supplement ingredient. It can be shipped as a powder without any loss of nutrients or supplied as a liquid.
Many Uses of Beta Glucan
Euglena gracilis’ ingredient is beta glucan. Bega glucan is a sugar that is found in the cell walls and can be used for high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. Beta glucans are also used to boost the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakened by conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, or physical and emotional stress; or by treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy. Beta glucans are also used for colds (common cold), flu (influenza), H1N1 (swine) flu, allergies, hepatitis, Lyme disease, asthma, ear infections, aging, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. People apply beta glucans to the skin for dermatitis, eczema, wrinkles, bedsores, wounds, burns, diabetic ulcers, and radiation burns. Healthcare providers sometimes give beta glucans by IV (intravenously) or by injection into the muscle to treat cancer and to boost the immune system in people with HIV/AIDS and related conditions. Beta glucans are also given by IV to prevent infection in people after surgery. Healthcare providers sometimes give beta glucans by a shot under the skin (subcutaneously) for treating and reducing the size of skin tumors resulting from cancer that has spread.
Remaining sensitive toward protecting millions of species, sensitive ecosystems of nature (e.g., coral reefs, rain forests) seems crucial. Innovating food production an essential component to produce, protect, and prosper.