A heterogeneous international research team from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, the University of Naples Federico II, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Porter School of the Earth Sciences, found that producing food “using the air” would be very more efficient than traditional cultivation techniques.
In their article, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the group describes the analysis and comparison of the efficiency of classic crops (such as soybeans) with the innovative use of the food technique that “exploits the air”.
In fact, for several years, researchers around the world have been evaluating the idea of exploiting this innovative technique, combining renewable fuel with the carbon present in the air to create food for a particular type of bacteria which in turn produce edible proteins. One of the most famous projects in this regard is Solar Foods in Finland, where researchers plan to build a demonstration plant by 2023.
In this new international study, the researchers sought to demonstrate the greater efficiency of “air growing” compared to traditional soybean cultivation. To do this, they used a photovoltaic system to produce electricity through solar energy, then combined with carbon dioxide in the environment to produce food for the microbes grown in a bioreactor.
The protein then produced by the microbes was then treated to remove the nucleic acids and finally dried to produce a particular powder suitable for consumption by humans and animals.
The analysis of the production efficiency also showed that this innovative cultivation technique was 10 times more efficient than traditional soybean cultivation of 10 square km. Furthermore, the protein produced using the “food in the air” approach has double the nutritional value of most other crops such as corn, wheat, or rice.