Showing results for: Food nutrients
Current crop production levels could feed a population of 9.7 billion people in 2050, according to a recent paper, but only in a future in which there are socio-economic changes, significant shifts in diets towards plant-based foods, and limited biofuel production. Without dietary changes, crop production would have to increase by 119% by 2050.
Rob Bailey and Bernice Lee of UK think tank Chatham House have written a piece exploring food system trends, including rising food demand, plateauing yields in key crop production regions, global convergence on a diet dependent on calorie-dense but nutrient-poor crops and a lack of genetic diversity in staple crops. The authors conclude that current food system trends are unsustainable, saying, “The continued intensification and expansion of agriculture is a short-term coping strategy that will eventually lead to food-system collapse.” They call for interventions at key leverage points in the food system.
600 million people could be affected as climate change decreases the levels of several nutrients in rice, according to a new paper. The paper estimated changes in rice nutrient content using experiments where rice (of several different cultivars) was grown under conditions of enriched CO2. At the higher CO2 levels, the following average decreases in nutrient levels were found compared to rice grown under ambient CO2: 10% for protein; 8% for iron; 5% for zinc; 17% for vitamin B1; 17% for vitamin B2; 13% for vitamin B5; 30% for vitamin B9. In contrast, vitamin E levels were 14% higher under elevated CO2 levels.
FCRN member Seth Cook of the International Institute for Environment and Development has written a discussion paper on the importance of agricultural biodiversity. The report notes that crop diversity is declining: today, just 30 crops supply 95% of food calories, with maize, rice, wheat and potatoes providing over 60%. For comparison, humans have domesticated or collected around 7000 species of food plants.
FCRN member Elinor Hallström of the Research Institute of Sweden has authored a systematic review paper on how dietary quality scores are used in environmental sustainability assessment of food. The paper identifies two broad types of dietary quality scores and four different approaches to integrating nutritional and environmental assessments. It finds that both the type of dietary quality score and the way it is combined with environmental assessments can make a difference to which foods appear more sustainable.
Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are developing edible plant cell cultures. They hope that cell cultures of plants such as cloudberry, lingonberry and strawberry could provide health benefits when the conventionally-grown berries are out-of-season or expensive to import. The researchers have experimented with blending the cells into a “jam” to release the flavour, and have designed a prototype of a bioreactor that could be used in the home.
A new paper compares four popular plant based milks to cow’s milk. It concludes that soy milk is the best replacement for cow’s milk from a nutritional standpoint.
Fish are generally seen as more efficient in converting feed into food than land-based species, but, according to a new paper, this conclusion does not hold if the retention of protein and calories is accounted for using a different measure.
Grass could be the next source of human-edible protein.
In this brief communication paper published in the first volume of the new journal Nature Sustainability, researchers from the US and Belgium assess the impact of international trade on global food supply, at the level of individual nutrients, rather than total calories. Based on their hypothetical comparison of food supply in a world with and without trade, they argue that international food trade is essential for global food security.
This new handbook, edited by Danny Hunter, Luigi Guarino, Charles Spillane and Peter C. McKeown, presents a comprehensive and multidisciplinary overview of the current knowledge of agricultural biodiversity.
The new report by World Wildlife Fund, Appetite for Destruction, highlights the vast amount of land that is needed to grow the crops used for animal feed, including in some of the planet’s most vulnerable areas such as the Amazon, Congo Basin and the Himalayas.
This new book by Bioversity International summarizes the most recent evidence on how to use agrobiodiversity to provide nutritious foods through harnessing natural processes.
This study by US- and New Zealand-based researchers estimates the effect of elevated CO2 (eCO2) on the edible protein content of crop plants, and subsequently on protein intake and protein deficiency risk globally, by country. The basis for this study is that 76% of the world’s population derives most of their daily protein from plants, and that a meta-analysis by Myers, et al. (2014) revealed that plant nutrient content (of various types including protein, iron and zinc) changes under elevated CO2.