Want to eat healthy and save the planet?  Replace beef with spirulina algae, researchers say

Want to eat healthy and save the planet? Replace beef with spirulina algae, researchers say

Want to eat healthy and save the planet? Replace beef with Spirulina algae Diagram of the spirulina production system and biomass flow. Credit: marine biotechnology (2022). DOI: 10.1007/s10126-022-10173-5

A new study led by Dr. Asaf Tzachor, in collaboration with an international team of scientists, analyzed a state-of-the-art biotechnology system that cultivates spirulina.

The system, designed and operated by Vaxa Impact Nutrition, is placed in the ON Power Geothermal Park, Iceland, and benefits from resource streams accessible through the Hellisheidi Power Station, including renewable electricity for lighting and energy consumption, hot and cold water flows for thermal management, fresh water for cultivation and carbon dioxide for biofixation.

Based on laboratory analysis, researchers have found that the nutritional content of spirulina is superior to beef in terms of protein, essential fatty acids and iron, and can serve as a healthy meat substitute, safer and more sustainable in the daily diet.

According to the study, for every kilogram of beef replaced with Icelandic spirulina, consumers will save some 1,400 liters of water, 340 square meters of fertile land and nearly 100 kilograms of greenhouse gases emitted into the environment. atmosphere. Furthermore, algae can be consumed in various forms, in particular in the form of wet biomass, or in the form of a paste, powder or tablet. For example, one can use Icelandic spirulina powder as an ingredient in pasta, pancakes and pastries, or drink an Icelandic spirulina shake.

While the role of meat in the human diet has been decisive, its ecological footprint is considerable and detrimental. Raising beef cattle requires arable land and forage supplies, and emits greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that contribute to climate change and global warming. One kilogram of beef requires about 1,450 liters of water and 340 square meters of fertile land. In addition, the production of one kilogram of beef results in the emission of approximately 100 kilograms of greenhouse gases.

As the demand for animal protein increases, so does the damage caused by the livestock sector. In response, humanity is looking for new ways to ensure its nutritional security, including the supply of alternative sources of protein, essential vitamins and minerals.

Algae, especially spirulina, are considered among the most efficient food producers on earth and can be grown using different techniques. In this study, spirulina is grown in closed, controlled systems, using advanced photonic management methods (controlled exposure to desired wavelengths), fully isolated from the harsh Icelandic environment.

This biotechnological system is exceptionally resistant to fluctuations in environmental and climatic conditions. It can be deployed in a modular way in different regions of the world. In addition, spirulina is an autotrophic organism and depends on photosynthesis and a supply of carbon dioxide. So, unlike many other alternative protein sources, growing this food source removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and mitigates climate change.

Dr. Asaf Tzachor, from the Reichman University School of Sustainability, says “nutrition security, climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation can go hand in hand. Whatever consumers need to do, it’s adopting a little Icelandic spirulina in their meals and diets instead of beef. It’s healthier, safer and more sustainable. Whatever change we wish to see in the world, that should manifest itself in our food choices.

The research is published in the journal marine biotechnology.

More information:
Asaf Tzachor et al, Correction to: Environmental impacts of large-scale production of spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) in Hellisheidi geothermal park in Iceland: life cycle assessment, marine biotechnology (2022). DOI: 10.1007/s10126-022-10173-5

Provided by Reichman University

Quote: Want to eat healthy and save the planet? Replace Beef With Spirulina Algae, Say Researchers (2022, Dec 12) Retrieved Dec 13, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-12-healthy-planet-beef-spirulina-algae.html

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